A recent Samsung patent review request could actually help out Apple. The South Korean firm has asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to review two Smartflash patents. That move could potentially relieve Apple of the need to pay Smartflash $532.9 million in damages awarded in a February patent decision.
Like Apple, Samsung is facing a Smartflash lawsuit over patents connected to data storage and payment systems, which in Apple’s case brought iAd, iOS, the iTunes Store, and the Mac and iOS App Stores under scrutiny. Samsung is asking the USPTO to determine whether or not two of the patents are invalid, Bloomberg said on Friday.
A patent agency review board earlier this week issued preliminary findings against the patents, saying they cover abstract concepts instead of patentable inventions. A panel of judges will hear arguments from both Samsung and Smartflash.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that merely having a computer do an established business method doesn’t mean it’s an invention.
“The odds of Smartflash winning the case aren’t good, based on the agency’s prior reviews. In cases based on claims that the invention was an abstract idea, 100 percent were found ineligible for patents, according to a study by law firm Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto.”
If the case is allowed to go forward, Samsung will face a trial in August. Apple is currently in the process of appealing the February verdict, it either needs to win its appeal outright, or draw the proceedings out until the USPTO ruling has been finalized.