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You're correct that it's not a knock-out blow --- at least not yet.

Apple could try to convince the patent examiner to change his mind; that strikes me as an uphill battle for them, given the extent of the examiner's written analysis. Or Apple could propose amendments to the claim language and try to convince the examiner that the amendments overcame the rejections.

If Apple were to amend some or all of claims that are pending in the Apple v. Samsung lawsuit, that could have a major impact on the outcome of the lawsuit under the doctrine of "intervening rights"; for example, any portion of the damage award attributable to the amended claim(s) might go away [4].

[4] http://www.guttagiplaw.com/publications/patents/INTERVENING_... (especially page 6)

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