One of the ways a patent can be questioned outside of court is by filing an “ex parte” reexamination request at the US Patent and Trademark Office. That’s what an anonymous third-party did to Apple’s patent No. 7,479,949, which lists Steve Jobs as its lead inventor and covers different kinds of scrolling within a document. Last December, that patent received an initial rejection from the Patent Office. But now the reexamination has concluded, and the patent has survived intact. In a document explaining his decision, the examiner decided that the prior art (an earlier patent) cited in the request includes “a translation command [that] does not include the determination of such a command based on an angle of initial movement of the finger contact with respect to the touch screen display.”     

Leave a Reply