Apple/Samsung patent trial shambles: '172 claim ''invalid''

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Judge Lucy H. Koh: Egg on face.

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) patent-infringement actions against Samsung seem to be all-but in tatters. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ruled, preliminarily, that a key claim in Apple's autocomplete patent is invalid, due to prior art.

In other words, no, Apple didn't invent it, after all. The decision isn't final, and Apple could still appeal it, but it's increasingly apparent that Apple has lost the stomach for the fight.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers see some semblance of sanity.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

 

John Ribeiro brings bad news for Apple:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected some claims of an Apple patent that was one of the basis for a recent damages award in a dispute with Samsung Electronics.

The patent figured in a recent trial in the California court, where a jury ruled in May that Samsung should pay Apple about US$119 million in damages for infringing three patents. ... District Judge Lucy H. Koh had ruled in January that Samsung products had infringed.  MORE

 

Shara Tibken, too:

The [USPTO] has rejected several claims of one of the patents Apple wielded against Samsung in the most recent patent-infringement trial...in a preliminary ruling. ... Patent No. 8,074,172, covers "autocomplete."

Samsung on Thursday presented the USPTO decision to the court, saying it's "relevant to Samsung's invalidity defenses. ... The filing comes only a couple days after Apple and Samsung said they have agreed to settle all litigation outside the US.  MORE

 

Mikey Campbell gets inside the ruling:

Specifically, the USPTO Office Action, brought about by an ex parte reexamination request, concluded that two patents anticipated Claim 18 of Apple's '172 property, prompting the body to reject it citing prior art.

An infringement ruling on an invalid patent is meaningless. ... The Office Action is not final and Apple still has a number of appeal routes to explore.

The USPTO previously invalidated Apple patents for iOS "pinch-to-zoom" and "rubber-banding" assets.  MORE

 

It's at times like this that we turn to the controversial Florian Müller:

Apple has just given up its thermonuclear ambitions and practically agreed with Google's 2011 statement that "bad software patent litigation is a wasteful war that no one can win."

The...USPTO has very recently rejected multiple claims of Apple's '172 autocomplete patent, including claim 18, the one asserted against Samsung in the second California litigation. ... The legal standard is stricter in the infringement case...than in reexamination, where clear and convincing evidence is sufficient to reject a patent claim, but it looks awkward that Judge Koh held Samsung to infringe a patent claim that the USPTO probably wouldn't have granted if it had been aware of all of the relevant prior art.

The $119 million verdict in the second California case was disappointing enough for Apple...and may have played a role in its decisions to agree to ceasefires with Google/Motorola and...Samsung.  MORE

 

Nikhil Subramaniam reminds us why that verdict was so disappointing for Apple:

During the course of the trial two patents were thrown out by the court, but the auto-complete patent was not among them and this latest Office Action could further reduce Apple’s damages claim.

Samsung’s strategy largely has been to get the court to not see the merit in Apple’s patents that are under the lawsuit’s purview.  MORE

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