updated 04:48 pm EDT, Fri May 10, 2013
Could affect outcome of Apple v. Samsung battles
The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a preliminary rejection of some claims in an Apple patent, Method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display, says FOSS Patents. Claims 29-30 and 33-35 have been rejected. The USPTO says that aspects of the patent were obvious or anticipated in light of another patent, Method and apparatus for displaying simulated keyboards on touch-sensitive displays, as well as prior art.
The rejection was based on an anonymous request for reevaluation filed in December, pointing to five examples of prior art, including three in the US and two from Japan. Should the claims remain problematic, the USPTO could end up invalidating the patent entirely.
Such a decision would have a significant impact on Apple's legal actions against Samsung. In April the US International Trade Commission ruled that Samsung had infringed the translucent images patent via text selection and photo gallery buttons in Android. A final ITC ruling is only due on August 1st, however, which could leave time for the USPTO to hand down an invalidation, and either absolve Samsung or prolong disputes even further.