This time it’s the so-called “pinch and zoom” patent getting rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and this is a big deal since that patent was one that Apple used to achieve that huge $1 bilion verdict against Samsung in a California kangaroo court last summer.
Now what happens? Does the court in California go back and subtract all the damages that the jury awarded to Apple based on this patent that Apple should never have been granted?
Apple took a big victory lap after that ruling but it’s looking like maybe it popped the champagne too early.
The ruling by the USPTO is not final, and no doubt Apple will appeal the decision, but suddenly Apple isn’t looking so powerful. In fact, it is looking a bit, well, ridiculous. (And that’s the kind word for it.)
The patent was struck down because the USPTO found prior art. Meaning Apple didn’t actually invent the stuff it claimed to have invented. It copied it from others, then went and got a patent on it anyway, and then used that bogus patent to sue rivals.
Worse yet for Apple, this new ruling from the USPTO comes just two weeks after the USPTO smacked down another of Apple’s patents, one that related to multitouch and was known as the “Steve Jobs” patent.
I wrote at the time that Apple’s “thermonuclear patent war” was a farce. Now that farce seems even sillier.