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With Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stretched thin over the last few years in various patent cases against other smartphone producers, it comes as a blow to have one of its patents temporarily, but completely, shut down.
At first glance, this decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appears to be a major blow for Apple in its lawsuits against companies like Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobility, and it comes after another invalidation for Apple’s “rubber-banding” patent.
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However, for Apple, the invalidation is at best a temporary hurdle, as the USPTO and Apple are likely to re-examine the patent claim, which could very likely regain its status as a valid patent. At worst, Apple loses a patent and with it a little bit of courtroom firepower.
If Apple’s patent is invalidated completely in the end, it will not mean other smartphone producers are off the hook, as recent and ongoing court cases brought by Apple have been based on a range of different patents, including but by no means limited to the aforementioned. Also, the legal proceedings outside the U.S. are not strictly subject to the U.S. patent decision, so the cases Apple is fighting in other countries based on the same patent will be able to continue with a stronger foothold.
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