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Apple anti-Samsung patents unravelling

by on24 December 2012

Another one about to be reviewed

Jobs’ Mob is fast running out of decent weapons to fling at its rival Samsung.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has already issued first Office actions concerning three Apple patents that are being asserted against Samsung in district court and at the ITC. This include the rubber-banding '381 patent, the "Steve Jobs" '949 touchscreen heuristics patent, and the pinch-to-zoom API patent.

Apple has shedloads of patents which are being fought over and Samsung, Google (Motorola) and others are apparently taking great efforts to get them invalidated. Three days ago, the USPTO received an anonymous ex parte reexamination request against five claims of the U.S. (Reissue) Patent No. RE41,922 on a "method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display".

These claims are exactly the ones that an ITC judge recently found Samsung to infringe. If the patent office says that the patent should not have been issued then that result will be overturned. Apple used this patent against HTC in Delaware. The court denied Apple the right to bring out-of-time infringement counterclaims to an action HTC had started in the summer of 2011, and meanwhile Apple and HTC have settled.

Given that only Samsung is presently being targeted by this patent it's most likely that Samsung is behind this anonymous filing. According to Patent expert Florian Mueller the re-examination request points the USPTO to five prior art references, which show that Apple never really invented anything in the first place.

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