[conspire] Patent Case Fall Out

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Oct 23 20:50:34 PDT 2012

Quoting Paul Zander (paulz at ieee.org):

> It's not over until ... US Apple bounce-back patents held invalid:
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20040549
> http://www.fosspatents.com/2012/10/patent-office-tentatively-invalidates.html

So, let me unpack what's happened, here.

Congress passes statutes creating the general shape of law and setting
the limits of what government departments and agencies may do.  Those
statutes are collected in the United States Code (U.S.C.).  The ability
to create regulations to fill in the -specifics- within the limits set
by statutes (referred to in this context as 'enabling legislation') gets
delegated as a quasi-legislative power to Executive Branch departments
and agencies - which basically take care of the day-to-day details as
long as they don't exceed their authorisation under statute.

Those regulations (referred to in this context as 'administrative law')
are collected in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) -- where
you'll find the regulations published by all Executive Branch agencies
as administrative law.

One of the Patent Office's regulations is 37 CFR 1.530, which provides a
mechanism for a patent holder to respond if his/her patent has been
brought up for re-examination.  Re-examinations mostly are of the 'Was
this even patentable at all?' or 'Was this patent granted to the wrong
party?' variety.

Apple just received a notice that one of its US patents, #7,469,381, 
the 'rubber-band patent', is up for re-examination, and that Apple
hasn't made a statement in defence of that patent as permitted by 37 CFR
1.530.  http://www.groklaw.net/pdf4/Applerubberbandtentrej.pdf

Also, for now, that patent's specific claims #1 through 20 have been
ruled _invalid_ (pending re-examination) because of two bits of prior
art and one pre-existing patent that have been brought to the Office's
attention.  (Since there were 20 claims total in the patent, that shoots
down the entire thing.)  Apple has 30 days to file a statement in
response before the re-examination is concluded.

Short description of that patent was:

  List scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a
  touch-screen display 

Abstract was:

  In accordance with some embodiments, a computer-implemented method for
  use in conjunction with a device with a touch screen display is
  disclosed. In the method, a movement of an object on or near the touch
  screen display is detected. In response to detecting the movement, an
  electronic document displayed on the touch screen display is translated
  in a first direction. If an edge of the electronic document is reached
  while translating the electronic document in the first direction while
  the object is still detected on or near the touch screen display, an
  area beyond the edge of the document is displayed. After the object is
  no longer detected on or near the touch screen display, the document is
  translated in a second direction until the area beyond the edge of the
  document is no longer displayed. 
Samsung has lodged news of the rubber-band patent's presumptive demise
with the Apple v. Samsung court, in support of its motion to oppose
Apple's motion for a permanent injunction and increased damages.

Good coverage here:

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