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Apple's iPhone patent design invalid

Samsung may have saved itself half a billion dollars.

According to a report by Foss Patents, it seems as one of the Apple's patents which was the basis of the lawsuit against Samsung was invalid, which basically means the entire patent wars might come crumbling down.

Three months ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated $380 million (£242m) in damages, thus necessitating a third trial in the first California case between these parties, but upheld approximately $547 million (£348m) in mostly design patent-related damages.

Samsung decided to battle on, going for lawsuits, claims and counterclaims. At the same time, there has also been an anonymous request for the reexamination of US Design Patent No. 618,677, most likely submitted by Samsung itself.

Following the reexamination the US Patent and Trademark Office finds this patent to be invalid.

The trick is in the date. The Design Patent No. 618,677 relied upon two previous patents filed by Apple to obtain its January 5, 2007 “priority date.” Apple didn’t submit the actual patent to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) until November 2008 but it claimed that since this patent was sufficiently described in the ones filed in 2007 it was also entitled to the same protection date as the other patents.

However, the USPTO ruled that Apple’s Design Patent 618,677 doesn’t enjoy the same protection date. This will allow Samsung to bring up this decision in the case’s remanded third trial to convince the court that it doesn’t owe any damages on an invalid patent.