By Nathanael Arnold
Did the United States Patent and Trademark Office just hand Samsung (SSNLF.PK) more ammunition in the company’s patent-infringement battle against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)? The USPTO has issued a preliminary rejection of an Apple patent that covers a method for displaying translucent images over a base image.
This decision could negatively affect Apple’s ongoing legal battle with the South Korea-based smartphone maker. In April, the United States International Trade Commission ruled that Samsung had violated this particular patent by incorporating translucent buttons and a text selection feature into its Android-powered devices. Samsung has already forwarded the news of the USPTO’s decision to the ITC, reports FOSS Patents.
Apple’s patent, which is titled “Method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display,” was rejected by the USPTO based on certain claims which it found to be anticipated or obvious. The USPTO based part of its rejection argument on the existence of a patent from 1996 which covered a similar method for displaying a translucent keyboard on touchscreen displays.