The affair is far from settled, but the US Patent Office has dealt a blow to Rodime Plc’s claim to patents on the entire concept of the 3.5 Winchester disk drive by issuing a preliminary decision that 14 of the 16 claims contained in Rodime’s patent on the 3.5 drive are invalid. According to Computer Systems News, the decision came after Rodime ask ed the Patent Office to re-examine its patents in order to strengthen its claims against IBM and Conner Peripherals – Rodime is suing Conn er for alleged patent infringement, IBM is suing Rodime in an effort to get a court decision that the pat ents are invalid. MiniScribe has already settled with Rodime and agreed to pay undisclosed royalt ies. The Patent Office decision was on the basis of examination of patents and published reports on the technology that pre-date Rod ime’s patent filing. Rodime now has to try to persuade the Patent Office of the validity of its case.