FOSS Patents has reported this afternoon that a patent penned by the late Steve Jobs has been given a first Office action, temporarily declaring the vital iPhone patent invalid. The patent, commonly known by Apple’s lawyers as “the Steve Jobs patent,” was granted in January 2009 and was a compilation of many other software patents dating as far back as before the iPhone was announced.
The patent covers the broad concept of the iPhone interface, as is entitled “Touch Screen Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics.” This is the exact patent that Apple has been using against its competitors in a vast array of legal claims, and if the patent does prove to be ruled invalid, those claims would not have as firm of a stance in future legal battles.
It’s worth noting that this patent was one of 300 that was recently used as defense in the 1 billion dollar legal battle with Samsung. The invalidation of this patent could potentially come with much more serious repercussions as Apple could theoretically be required to pay some of that huge amount back to its competitors.