Currently, a small group of technology companies, namely Apple and Google, are suing the crap out of each other in courts around the globe. At the heart of the problem is the fact that Apple thinks it’s patented putting your finger on a piece of glass and moving it around. But, according to the U.S. Patent Office, maybe not!
As Wired lays it out, Apple’s patent isn’t fully tossed just yet:
[Santa Clara University Professor of Law Brian] Love noted that 89 percent of patents subject to re-examination survive in some form or another — they’re either unchanged or approved in amended form, so the odds that Apple’s iconic patent will be tossed entirely are slim.
“At this point, the ultimate fate of Apple’s patent is far from clear, and Apple has many options for how to proceed,” Love said. Apple can make additional arguments that the claims are valid, and possibly persuade the examiner to change his mind — we know all too well how persuasive Apple’s legal team can be. It can also appeal the decision and/or amend the claims that the examiner found fault with.
The problem for Apple is really this: If they have to amend their patent, or give up portions of it, then they also have to amend all the various lawsuits they have going or shut them down.
This may not be entirely unwelcome to Apple. Going after other operating systems, especially Android, was partially a legacy of the Steve Jobs days and partially a legal strategy: Sue them before they sue us. Jobs pretty infamously hated the fact that Android dared, dared, to imitate iOS in some respects, calling it a stolen product, and arguably one of the worst things he did was help touch off a patent and lawsuit arms race.
So, if this patent is fully wiped (which it should be) or at least partially invalidated, it might really be the best for everybody… Apple included.