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Apple to court: Pinch-to-Zoom patent invalidation will take until 2017

updated 07:14 pm EDT, Wed April 17, 2013

Filing calls delay in next trial 'unwarranted and prejudicial'

Court filings for the 2014 Apple versus Samsung case continue to fly in Judge Lucy Koh's courtroom in the Northern District of California. In the latest round of filings, Samsung requested that the next patent trial between the pair be stayed, pending reexaminations of two key Apple patents by the US Patent Office. Apple filed its response yesterday to the request, saying that a stay of the trial pending the review would be ""unwarranted and prejudicial" as at the earliest, the patents wouldn't be truly invalidated until the middle of 2017 or later.

Apple believes that it will ultimately emerge victorious at the USPTO. In the response, Apple wrote that "[t]he '381 and '915 reexaminations are many years from completion, unless they culminate in an earlier finding that the claims are patentable." The Apple claim is backed by a two-page flowchart documenting in the broadest of strokes the often-byzantine process that is required to invalidate a patent. Given precedent from previous patent trials in the US, Apple would still be entitled to damages during the USPTO invalidation process.

Samsung disagrees with Apple's assessment, saying that the process should only take 18 months. Apple cited USPTO statistics for the timetable, claiming that "Apple may file a notice of appeal to the Patent Trials and Appeals Board (PTAB) by June 29, 2013. USPTO statistics show that the average time from notice of appeal to a PTAB decision as of 2012 was 36 months, or in this case June 2016. Apple may further request rehearing of any adverse PTAB decision, which would toll the deadline to appeal to the Federal Circuit, or appeal directly to the Federal Circuit. Federal Circuit statistics show that the median time from docketing to disposition of cases originating from the USPTO as of 2012 was roughly 12 months. Thus, if the '381 reexamination proceeds adversely to Apple, it is unlikely to reach final resolution until, on average, June 2017." Apple added that the other patent in question is at an even earlier stage than the '381 patent.

Also filed was Samsung opposing Apple's motion for reconsideration of the set-aside of $85 million in damages for the Infuse 4G and Galaxy S II phones. Despite the judge ruling that Apple wasn't owed the $85 million that the jury awarded, Samsung had no real argument that would support the vacation decision, which will likely lead to the judge re-evaluating her decision in light of Apple's filing.

The vast majority of filings are complete for the April 29 case management conference. A single filing for both parties, the Joint Case Management Conference statement, is due on April 22.

by MacNN Staff



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