iPhone design patent rejected, Samsung battle rumbles on

18 Aug 2015

The US patent and trademark office (USPTO) has given one of the iPhone design patents a non-final rejection, adding another chapter to the drawn-
out Apple vs Samsung lawsuit that’s been going on for years.

Spotted by FOSS Patents, one of Apple’s many patents (D’677) was put forward for a re-look at its validity and this ‘non-final rejection’ decision may impact on the US$548m in damages that Apple was expecting from Samsung.

The patent has been rejected twice for “obviousness”, with a problem for the Cupertino company being that it’s “not entitled to benefit of the filing date” of two previous Apple design patent applications because the design at issue was not disclosed in those earlier applications.

As you can see from the image below, the D’677 patent request (right) is different to its predecessors, and therefore not approved in sync:

iPhone design patents / Apple v Samsung

Apple vs Samsung

“The design in this patent is different from that of the earlier applications in that the new claim includes a front surface entirely covered with translucent black surface without colour contrast,” reads the USPTO’s assessment.

“[And it] excludes the surface within the round home button, while including the entire capsule-shaped speaker opening.”

“When a design is changed, the result is a new and different design.”

Last month it appeared some of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley, including Facebook and Google, backed Samsung in the patent battle.

Along with Facebook and Google, Dell, HP and eBay issued a joint ‘friend of the court’ briefing asking the US Federal Appeals Court to look again at the ruling that Samsung should have to pay out profits as part of the recent Apple patent case.

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic