Supreme Court denies Apple patent office challenge

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iPhone event (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • An Apple challenge against the US Patent and Trademark Offices has been denied.
  • The US Supreme Court tossed out Apple's challenge on Tuesday.
  • The petition sought to establish whether the USPTO decisions to throw out patent challenges could be themselves challenged in court.

A challenge against the United States Patent and Trademark office filed by Apple in July of 2021 has been denied by the US Supreme Court.

Confirmation that Apple's petition was denied emerged Tuesday, after the company filed a petition to the Supreme Court in 2021 as part of its long-running dispute with Optis Technology. Sometimes colloquially known as a 'patent troll', Optis earns money not by making products or services, but by acquiring patents in the hope of extracting money from companies that already use them. In August a Texas Jury ruled that Apple should pay Optis $300 million over patent infringements, a ruling the Cupertino company plans to appeal. Optis is the same company in the UK dispute that saw Apple threaten to leave the UK market over a "commercially unacceptable" fee passed down by the high court.

In its original petition, Apple sought a Supreme court ruling that stated the U.S. Court of Appeals should be allowed to review decisions made by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reject inter partes patent reviews "where review is sought on the grounds that the denial rested on an agency rule that exceeds the PTO's authority under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act" or is "arbitrary or capricious, or was adopted without required notice-and-comment rulemaking." In its petition, Apple said that changes to the PTO over the past two years "has sharply undermined access to IPR", and was having the opposite effect that it was intended to, namely "when a patent holder asserts a dubious patent in a lawsuit claiming infringement."

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9