The US Patent Office has once again rejected the validity of Apple's "bounce back" patent, but as Apple noted in a follow-up filing, the decision is not yet final.
The outcome of the proceeding could impact the damages that Apple was awarded in its patent fight with Samsung, given that the Korean phone maker was found to have infringed on the patent in question.
With the "bounce back" technology, when you get to the top or bottom of a page on iOS, it will pull down (or up) and then "bounce back" into place.
In October, shortly after a California jury handed down a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung, the USPTO found that the '381 patent was invalid. Apple appealed that decision, but the USPTO came to the same conclusion last week.
In a filing with the California court, Samsung referred to the USPTO's decision as a "final office action," but in its Tuesday response, Apple argued that the case is far from over.
"A 'final' office action does not signal the end of reexamination at the USPTO, much less the end of consideration of the patentability of the claims under reexamination," Apple lawyers said. "Rather, 'finality' is primarily a procedural construct that limits the right to amend claims and introduce evidence as a matter of right in reexamination."
Apple said it has two months to file a response, and even if the USPTO once again rejects Apple's arguments, Cupertino can seek judicial review in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit or the US District Court for the District of Columbia, Apple said.
"In short, reexamination of the '381 patent is far from conclusion," Apple concluded.
In August 2012, the jury found that 21 Samsung products infringed on claim 19 of the '381 patent, and awarded damages relating to 18 devices. That includes the Samsung Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Exhibit 4G, Fascinate, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S2, Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Tab 10.1 (WiFi), Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Mesmerize, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, and Vibrant.
In early March, Judge Lucy Koh ordered a new trial on 14 Samsung products and dropped more than $450 million in damages from the $1.05 billion total. Some of those dropped products related to the '381 patent, but not all, according to Samsung.