In a move that is bad news for Google and Samsung, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reaffirmed the validity of the so-called Steve Jobs patent, which addresses certain touchscreen technologies. The result will no doubt be a boon to Apple as it continues its litigation against Android-based competitors. The USPTO issued a re-examination certificate following its invalidation of the patent last year.
The Steve Jobs patent may not be as egregious as Apple’s attempt to lay claim to rounded corners, but the vague language in the patent’s abstract raises questions about the patent system specifically and intellectual property in general. This latest USPTO decision will no doubt enable continuous litigation between the smartphone and tablet giants—the so-called patent wars. But whether the patent system is truly a means of protecting innovation or simply a means for companies to buy government-sponsored monopolies is a matter overdue for serious public reconsideration.
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