Apple has just lost one of its magic patent bullets thanks to a non-final Office action by the USPTO. Patent No, 7,469,381 (used against Samsung in California) has been declared invalid after evidence supporting prior art (as well as being obvious) was brought about during a reexamination request.
This news is not only great for Samsung, but many other manufacturers who are currently caught up in Apple’s legal charades.
What happens now? Well, as most decisions like these — the first isn’t exactly the last. There will be a series of reexaminations and Office rulings before a “final Office action” is handed down. And even then, it can be reconsidered and appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court. In other words: “get ready for a very long ride.”
As for Samsung, they had already worked around the infringing patent (even before the California ruling), but an invalidation of the patent would result in Samsung having to pay less damages to Apple and the possibility of once again implementing the bounce-back effect in its devices (US only for now).
This news is important on many levels. Hopefully it will bring rise to more reexaminations and more invalid patents. Take all the BS ammo away from companies, allow them only to retain that which they deserve, and then, perhaps we’ll see an end to frivolous patent lawsuits and a focus on innovation.
Source: FOSS Patents.