Back in the glory days, multitouch was the key feature that separated the iPhone from the rest. Nowadays, however, the tables are beginning to turn, and Apple is somewhat forced to unleash the troll within, in a bid to preserve thy “precious” patents. One of them is the so called “Steve Job patent,” which basically covers the several key multitouch features on iOS including scrolling, swipes, and pinches. You can recall that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) previously issued a “non-final” ruling on the said patents that declares some of them to be invalid.
Today, as noted by Foss Patents, the USPTO has issued a First Office Action tentatively rejecting all “20 claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 on a touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics, which has been referred to by many people, including Apple’s own lawyers, as the Steve Jobs patent.” A First Office Action is the first response from the patent office saying your claims are not allowable because of some reasons.
This could either make or break Apple’s countless lawsuits. “Should the first Office actions tentatively invalidating the rubber-banding and the touchscreen heuristics patents be affirmed at the end of the proceedings (after all appeals have been exhausted), Apple would lose two iconic patents, but it would still have thousands of other patents, including hundreds of multitouch patents,” writes Florian Mueller of Foss Patents.