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'Anonymous' parties seek invalidation of two Apple technical patents

updated 06:33 pm EDT, Mon August 5, 2013

Both patents involve Apple touch screen technology

Two more of Apple's patents have come under an "anonymous" re-examination request before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). US patent 7,663,607 covering multipoint touch screens, and US patent 7,920,129 involving a "double-sided touch-sensitive panel" have been put up for review. Both patents were originally being asserted by Apple against Samsung, but were winnowed at the demand of Judge Lucy Koh's order to simplify and streamline the first Apple versus Samsung smartphone trial.

The two patents at stake here were regarded by Apple to be more technical and harder to explain to a jury for the first Apple versus Samsung smartphone trial, which is likely why they were excised. They were withdrawn without prejudice, however, so the patents could be reasserted against Samsung in a future trial, but at present, Apple has no actions involving these patents.

The request for re-examination is the first step in a years-long process towards potential invalidation. A previous patent much further along in the process -- the "rubber banding" patent that was used successfully in the Samsung trial and in a ruling in Japan -- was first invalidated, then confirmed invalid, and then re-validated. Apple expects to not have a truly final answer on the matter until some time in 2017, with the process started in mid-2012. Regardless of filer, the re-examination requests filed today will have little bearing on the upcoming Apple versus Samsung (or any other party) bevy of lawsuits soon to be heard.

by MacNN Staff



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