The United States Patent and Trademark Office has upheld a key Apple multitouch patent in a move that could have real ramifications for companies like Samsung and Motorola moving forward. The USPTO issued a certificate on September 4th confirming the patentability of all 20 claims of US patent number 7,479,949. An initial ruling back in December of last year had rejected them, but this latest reexamination certificate basically walks that back in its entirety.
The '949 patent covers multitouch functionality, such as the ability for a device to interpret a diagonal downward swipe as a purely vertical gesture in order to allow pages to scroll smoothly and consistently for users. It's a patent of particular note as it's been used by Cupertino against both Samsung and Motorola. In fact, it's one of the patents at issue in the ITC's recent ruling to ban the import of some Samsung products into the United States. As a result of that ruling, Samsung will have to ensure that the devices it sells in the US do not infringe upon any of the involved patents — and with this latest USPTO action, one avenue through which to resolve that issue has been shut down for good.