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Apple has quite a few patents. Steve Jobs alone had 313 patents to his name. There’s one key one however, the ‘949 multi-touch patent, sometimes known as the Steve Jobs patent, and the USPTO just tentatively rejected all 20 of its claims.

This tentative rejection was first reported by Foss Patents and while it is only tentative, it goes to show there could be some fissures and cracks in the flagship patent Apple has been wielding. The one that claims a “touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics.”

If some of its claims were ultimately found to be invalid, it could have drastic retroactive effects on the ruling in the big Apple vs Samsung case. On the other hand, if they are ultimately found to be valid, the patent will be stronger than ever for having survived an additional round of USPTO scrutiny.

This isn’t the first Apple patent to be tentatively invalidated. The same thing happened to their bounce-scroll patent back in October. Of course Apple is going to muster its best legal minds to defend these key patents, and its legal team has proven to be savvy in the past, so this is by no means the definitive end of this patent. But it could be the beginning of it. Maybe. [FOSS PATENTS via Slashgear]

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