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Nice of them to invalidate them - now - after they already passed them and Apple already used them in lawsuits - and won with them. But better late than never, I guess.

I'm hoping it's a sign of change within the Patent Office. If this becomes a regular occurrence I'll be extremely happy.

This isn't something that was initiated within the patent office. An external attorney filed a reexamination request, paid for it (thousands in fees), and included literally hundreds of pages of explanation as to why the patent should be struck down, with references to hundreds of pages of prior art. From that, it is much easier for an examiner to determine whether the patent should be struck down.

This is not something that a patent examiner has the tools, training, and, most importantly, time to do on initial application. So I wouldn't expect any changes from the patent office itself.

> This is not something that a patent examiner has the tools, training, and, most importantly, time to do on initial application.

... which then begs the question: If the USPTO cannot do adequate research for granting a valid patent, then why are they granting patents?

They have a mandate to grant patents. They have a certain budget to fulfill that mandate. I imagine (although I don't know) that they do the best they can to grant valid patents within those constraints.

I don't think the patent office is under any obligation to grant any particular patent. If they are unable to properly process a patent application, the consequence should be a decade long backlog that forces lawmakers to make a more sensible law, not a mountain of bogus patents that are worse than useless.

Those fees, at least, should be charged back to the filer of the original patent, who should have supplied the necessary references in their initial patent application. Which they don't want to do, of course.

Companies should be securing clawbacks in patent settlements upon invalidation.

Does it work like that? If you were bootlegging during prohibition, and convicted, would your conviction be repealed afterwards? It was technically illegal at the time.

Maybe someone with more knowledge of law on here knows if this is the case with patent law or not.

rhizome appears to be talking about people negotiating settlement agreements where the payments are clawed back when a patent is later found invalid. This would take agreement on both sides before the settlement, and I doubt patent holders would go for it. Worth a try though.

Aha. That makes more sense. Thanks.

In your analogy, the activity was illegal until the law was changed. If a patent is declared invalid, then it shouldn't have been valid when it was used in prosecution, so it's logical for the defendant to ask for some kind of redress. Whether the law actually works like that, I don't know.

Seems to me like it would be hard to get the side who would lose in the clawback to agree to do that when they had the upper hand when the settlement was made.

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