The past might always return to haunt you, or so the saying goes. Apparently, this might have come true for the folks over at Apple, as a German patent court on Thursday did invalidate an Apple property which was asserted against Google and Samsung. The evidence used to arrive at that patent invalidation? A video of Steve Jobs back in 2007 when he presented the feature onstage which predates the filing, and hence is considered to be prior art in the country. The Bundespatentgericht, or Federal Patent Court of Germany, did declare that Apple’s EP2059868 patent for a “Portable electronic device for photo management,” which happens to cover a specific utilization of Apple’s “bounce-back” user interface effect, is no longer valid due to prior art.
At the time of Jobs’ 2007 iPhone presentation, U.S. patent law did allow inventors a 12-month grace period for them to file a patent document after managing to think of a novel idea. Hence, anything that was publicly shown or published at this time would not be considered as prior art. Interestingly enough, this particular mechanism does not exist in Europe, which means that this January 2007 video has been classed as a pre-filing disclosure, which in turn makes it prior art when weighed against Apple’s late June patent priority date. Needless to say, Apple can still take the recourse of appealing the decision if they decide to do so.
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