The previous post was about USPTO determinations to reexamine two iPhone design patents, and here's another reexamination that was granted this month. On August 16, the USPTO ordered the reexamination of U.S. Patent No. 8,014,760 on "missed telephone call management for a portable multifunction device", a patent Apple is asserting against Samsung (in the second California litigation between these parties, where Apple prevailed on claim construction with respect to several patents including this one) as well as Google's Motorola (in the Southern District of Florida).
The USPTO only determined that some substantial new questions for patentability have been raised and need to be looked into. No first Office action rejecting any claims was issued. This also applies to the USPTO's initial response to a simultaneously-discovered reexamination request against another patent Apple is asserting in the second California case against Samsung (an autocomplete patent), as well as the design patent reexaminations I discussedin my previous post.
Reexamination will cover all 22 claims of the '760 patent and eight invalidity theories. Five invalidity contentions presented by the anonymous requester, including the only non-novelty (anticipation) contention, were so unconvincing that they're not even going to be at issue in this reexamination, which means (in light of the low hurdle of a substantial new question for patentability) that those contentions must have been extremely weak.
These are the prior art references cited by the anonymous reexamination request:
U.S. Patent No. 7,231,229 on a "communication device interface"; the first named inventor is Palm and Handspring founder Jeff Hawkins
U.S. Patent No. 7,289,614 on "making a call from an address list or a call history list"; this is a PalmSource patent
U.S. Published Patenta pplication No. 2006/0135197 on an "apparatus and method for originating call using latest communication records in mobile communication terminal"; a Samsung patent application
U.S. Published Patent Applciation No. 2005/0085274 on a "method for displaying call record list in wireless telecommunication terminal"; a Pantech patent application
U.S. Patent No, 8,126,120 on "providing missed call and message information"; a TellMe Networks patent
The fact that this patent is presently being asserted against both Samsung and Motorola in cases that are scheduled to go to trial next year makes this ex parte reexamination particularly interesting.
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