A report from FossPatents today (via MacRumors) covering a Samsung filing with U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh shows the United States Patent and Trademark Office has declared 20 claims related to Apple’s rubber-banding patent invalid. One of the claims was even used against Samsung as part of Apple’s $1 billion victory in a California court in August:
While this non-final decision is not binding, there is a possibility that Judge Koh will be persuaded by this to grant Samsung’s Rule 50 (“overrule-the-jury”) motion to the extent it relates to the ‘381 patent. Even if Judge Koh is hesitant to overrule the jury on this and skeptical of a non-final action, the reexamination process will continue during the Federal Circuit appellate proceedings, so if the non-final findings concerning claim 19 are affirmed in subsequent Office actions, they will have more weight. And even after the appeals process, a subsequent final rejection of the relevant patent claim would make the patent unenforceable going forward.
The report noted an anonymous third-party challenged the validity of the patent earlier this year requesting a reexamination (Google looks up into space, begins whistling):
In late May, Scott Daniels, the author of the WHDA Reexamination Alert blog, discovered some new anonymous attacks on this patent and another famous Apple patent. I reported and commented on these findings. At the time I already listed the prior art references on which that ex parte reexamination request was based.