Apple seems to be a bit more vulnerable as of right now when it comes to its court cases as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which usually lets companies fight over patent validity in court, decided to rule that Apple’s massive multitouch patent is invalid. The ruling seems to be the case, at least for now but just like they approved it before, they may approve it again sometime in the future. The whole situation is actually rather confusing but Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents explains the premise behind the situation quite well:
I have said on various occasions that first Office actions and other non-final Office actions are just preliminary. Many patent claims that are rejected at this stage do ultimately survive. There are many steps inside the USPTO, followed by a potential appeal to the Federal Circuit (and in a few cases even the Supreme Court). Some people say that first Office actions are partial because they are based only on submissions made by those challenging the patent, and many examiners like to take a tough position early on in order to enable and require the patentee to present the strongest arguments in favor of validity. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of a first Office action. Also, a complete rejection of all claims of a given patent is potentially more devastating than one affecting only some claims.
Source: FOSS Patents via iMore