Crucial Apple multitouch patent temporarily ruled invalid

Famous 'Steve Jobs patent' now in dispute

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A key Apple patent which governs the use of multitouch technology on its mobile devices has been temporarily ruled invalid.

On Friday, the United States Patents & Trademarks Office (USPTO) struck down all 20 claims within the touchscreen heuristics patent '949', also known as 'the Steve Jobs patent'.

The filing, in which the late Apple founder is named as one of the inventors, covers a "touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics."

The validity of the claims will now be reexamined and any decision could have major ramifications in the ongoing patent wars.

May yet survive

Samsung was found guilty of infringing this patent by an International Trade Commission (ITC) judge back in October, while Motorola had also been accused of infringing 'the Steve Jobs patent.'

However, this temporary ruling, known as a first Office ruling, doesn't yet spell doom for one of Apple's most important mobile patents.

Florian Mueller of the excellent Foss Patents blog explains: "I have said on various occasions that first Office actions and other non-final Office actions are just preliminary.

"Many patent claims that are rejected at this stage do ultimately survive."

Via Foss Patents