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Preliminary Patent Office Ruling Invalidates Apple’s ‘Steve Jobs Patent’

•, By Christina Bonnington
 The “Steve Jobs patent” refers to a broad multitouch patent that covers many of the iconic swipes and pinches that makes navigating the iPhone and iPad so easy. Apple has used the patent in intellectual-property litigation against competitors like Samsung and Motorola, but it remains to be seen what the Patent Office’s preliminary decision, first reported by patent expert Florian Mueller, might mean for Apple’s many lawsuits.

“It is simply too early to make any sweeping conclusions at this point,” Brian Love, an assistant professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law, said. “Office action rejections during re-examination are common and rarely are fatal to the entire patent.”

Jobs is listed as the first inventor of this patent, U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949, titled “Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics.” Apple filed the patent on April 11, 2008 and it was approved the following year. In a re-examination of the patent, the U.S. PTO rejected all 20 claims of the patent in question.

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