Apple has patent tossed in U.S. lawsuit, multi-touch patent called into question

Apple has patent tossed in U.S. lawsuit, multi-touch patent called into question
The last year the nexus of legal action in the smartphone industry has been Germany; in the U.S. several complaints were brought to the ITC first, due to the presumed speed of response. While the ITC is generally faster than the U.S. court system, it has generally not favored those seeking to ban devices. As a result, lawsuits filed in U.S. courts are finally starting to ramp up.

Perhaps the most anticipated are the back-to-back patent suits between Apple and Motorola that will be taking place this summer. As we get closer to trial we are seeing more frequent rulings by the presiding judge. Earlier this week Apple lost on a request to compel Motorola to share information on the development of Android, and today we can report some additional rulings on specific patents. These rulings are on “claim construction”, the part of the pre-trial work where both sides argue over almost every significant work, to try and pin down exactly what a patent covers.

After earlier rounds of winnowing, Apple was left with 6 patents and Motorola with 3. After today Apple will have 5 patents remaining, and Judge Posner has specifically called into question some of the claims Apple is making in other key patents. The patent thrown out was for “a 'wrapper' that enables object-oriented applications to access procedural operating system services”. Judge Posner declared it invalid because the patent does not specify the means by which the patent would work – in other words the patent is so vague that it could cover almost anything.

Of the five remaining patents, the judge raised some serious questions about how broadly Apple’s key multi-touch patent was worded, indicating that as presented it the patent would refer to any touchscreen computer. That would be bad for Apple, because touchscreen computers most certainly existed before the iPhone, so it would be easy to invalidate the patent based on prior art.

Posner has requested that both sides file briefs on the touchscreen patent for next week, so we may find out fairly soon whether Apple’s “touchscreen heuristics” patent will pass enough muster to reach the trial phase. This is one of the key patents that Steve Jobs wanted to “kill Android” with, so a failure against Motorola in this case may lead to a significant slowdown in the smartphone patent wars.

Motorola also had one of its three patent claims called into question. Another patent is FRAND-based, so while it looks likely that they will win it, Apple will probably be able to escape an injunction while both sides work out a licensing deal.

Of course in both cases we hope that justice is served, but since we aren't legal experts, we hope that "the just" thing happens to coincide with the thing that could slow down the rate of lawsuits in our industry. We may find out sooner rather than later.

source: Foss Patents

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21 Comments

1. pongkie

Posts: 663; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

yay consumer wins. i love that judge

13. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

And I'd gladly give of my time to testify in court on why this "heuristic" isn't new or novel in any way possible.

16. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

and sue Apple for wasting time of the judges!

19. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

"in other words the patent is so vague that it could cover almost anything." 99% ipatents are the same. do anybody remember a thing which apple invented after the very first iphone ? answer is none.

2. plgladio

Posts: 314; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Good to go!

3. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

LOL!!! Eat it,Apple!!! You lose again!!!

4. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

My old Treo had a touch screen just with a physical keyboard instead of a full touch screen keyboard. Im glad this patents got called in by a real judge who knows what to look for in lawsuits. Its sad it has come to this but its time for the I sue u, u sue me crap to stop.

5. rnk.khch

Posts: 86; Member since: Jan 30, 2012

What a wonderful beautiful Judge!!!! :)

6. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

A couple patents away from peace...

7. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Bwa. Ha. Ha. Where do I send this judge a token of my esteemed appreciation? Finally, an beginning to the end of apple's shouldn't-have-been-granted-in-the-first-place patents

8. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Waitaminnit! An overly broad patent? How'd that one slip through?

9. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

DEAR APPLE STOP BEING A PATENT TROLL AND TRYING TO CONTROL THE PATENT SYSTEM.

10. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

it would be hilarious if moto wins the FRAND patent and apple works out a licencing deal. Then they would be basically paying Google for every iOS device sold. OOOOHHH The irony.

17. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

heavens......eat it Apple!

11. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Com Judge be on the right side. DON'T TAKE APPLE dirty money

12. PostalJim

Posts: 46; Member since: Sep 01, 2011

Free Droid and Galaxy phones for that judge for LIFE!!!!

14. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

I cannot wait until the end of these patent wars. Not just for Apple but for everyone. It's getting so bad that companies are trying to sue each other for the stupidest things.

15. sgogeta4

Posts: 394; Member since: Feb 02, 2011

Most of these companies are just counter-suing Apple for retarded lawsuits.

18. u-suck-more

Posts: 529; Member since: Aug 26, 2011

Apple has a vague patent? O.o soon they might file for another vague one and call it ''Phone'' hahaa anyway LONG LIVE THE JUDGE

20. Habib

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 26, 2011

ah this judge needs to go all around the world :D! to make sure Apple does not sue for everything

21. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

As much as I like Apple I have to admit that their patent claims were very vauge and really baseless and now the true is coming to light that you can't sue for what was already in exsistence.

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