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  1. Akshay Masand's Avatar

    The USPTO found that an iPhone design patent successfully leveraged by Apple against Samsung in its first court action, to be invalid on multiple counts. This brings Apple’s $548 million damages award into question going forward. Discovered by Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents’, the non-final decision regarding Apple’s US Patent No. D618,677, was handed down by the USPTO’s Central Reexamination Division earlier this month.

    The decision follows an anonymous ex parte examination request, one likely filed by Samsung, that called the validity of the design patent into question. Mueller believes that Apple is going to have a hard time arguing any validity given the long period between ex parte requests and the resulting Office action. Furthermore, the non-final decision determined the patent’s single claim was rejected twice for being too obvious, once for obviousness in connection with a published patent application and the second time over novelty.

    To make the situation worse for Apple, the USPTO isn’t allowing the Cupertino California company to claim benefit of filing dates related to two previous patent applications covering the same design, which are cited as “prior art.”

    For those of you who didn’t know, as applied to the first Apple vs. Samsung trial, the South Korean electronics manufacturer was found to have infringed on D’677 with its Fascinate, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S II for AT&T, Galaxy S II for T-Mobile, Epic 4G Touch, Skyrocket, Showcase, Infuse 4G, Mesmerize and Vibrant smartphone models. In two cases, specifically the Galaxy S2 Skyrocket and Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, the jury based infringements specifically on D’677.

    When it comes to the Apple vs. Samsung decision which was handed down three years ago, the proceedings continue to drag on as both parties are continually exhausting more appeals. Samsung was able to bring its $1.05 billion damages ruling to roughly $548 million through a partial retrial and a successful Federal Circuit appeal but was most recently denied an en banc rehearing to further reduce damages by $399 million. It should be noted that Samsung still has the option to take its argument to the US Supreme Court.

    We’ll have to wait and see how Apple fights back and responds to the situation. In the meantime, it looks like the legal battles will continue for quite some time.

    Source: FOSS Patents

    Twitter: @AkshayMasand
    2015-08-18 08:25 AM