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USPTO Preliminarily Rejects Apple's 'Pinch-to-Zoom' Patent

Another Apple patent is in the spotlight tonight, after the United States Patent and Trademark Office has preliminarily rejected all 20 claims of Patent No. 7,844,915, or the so-called "pinch to zoom" patent.


Patent '915 deals with technology that discerns whether a user is scrolling with a single finger or accessing several touch points at once, as in a pinch-to-zoom action. Apple successfully used Patent No. '915 against Samsung in its court battle earlier this year, and 21 of 24 Samsung devices in the lawsuit were found to be infringing on the patent.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Samsung brought the invalidation of the key patent to the court's attention in a Wednesday afternoon filing.
The agency declared invalid the entirety of Apple's so-called "pinch-to-zoom" patent on Wednesday, according to a court filing from Samsung. The Korean electronics giant said in a statement to the court that the patent had been struck down on re-examination due to previous patents on record.

Samsung said the development supports its request for a new trial.
Samsung has been fighting for a retrial in recent weeks, after Apple was granted more than $1 billion in damages when a jury decided that Samsung had willfully infringed on Apple's patents. Part of Patent No. '915 was an important factor in the calculation of the payment.

On Monday, Judge Lucy Koh, who has been presiding over the Apple vs. Samsung trial denied Samsung's motion for a new trial on the basis of juror misconduct.

As The Verge points out, however, the rejection of Patent No. '915 is preliminary and isn't yet the same as "invalidating" the patent. Apple still has the opportunity to file its counter-arguments:
The whole discussion is part of an ex parte reexamination; that means Apple is the only other party talking to the USPTO about the patent, and it will still have an opportunity to fight for keeping the patent valid or to amend its language so that it will stay relevant in the Samsung case. It's also important to note that while 21 individual claims within the patent were rejected, only one — Claim 8 — was used in the trial, providing Apple a very specific target when working with the Patent Office.
The decision comes just weeks after the USPTO preliminarily rejected Patent No. 7,479,949 or the "Steve Jobs" patent.

Top Rated Comments

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21 months ago
puts on flamesuit

i don't think this should be a patent
Rating: 50 Votes
21 months ago
Thank you US Patent Office! =)
Rating: 36 Votes
21 months ago
I would like to point out that all 3 of the patents Apple is suing Samsung for in the US are in various stages of being invalidated.

arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/12/apple-stands-to-lose-another-patent-crucial-to-its-battle-with-samsung/

It truly boggles the mind how the incompetent US jury could think these soon to be struck, frivolous patents could be worth $1 billion.
Rating: 25 Votes
21 months ago
There are hundreds of other ways to zoom in and out, but pinch to zoom is by far the best/coolest/most natural, and everyone else wants it. Apple nailed it, and no one else wants to settle for less.

When Apple showed it for the first time, people ooh'd, ahh'd, clapped, whistled, and cheered, because it was THAT good. It had a huge impact, and it took years before anyone else had an OS that could hold a candle to iOS.

Now, everyone who copied the original, and was late to the party, wants what Apple has. But they don't want to work for it. They just want it. They feel entitled to it. They could use sliders UI's, knob UI's, they could swipe, use a magnifying glass like Adobe, etc, but no, it has to be Apple's method, because it's established (by the iPhone) as the best.

Lame. People say they want competition, then bitch because they've got nothing to bring to the table. They want to compete by making iPhones, rebranding them, and then pitting them against the iPhone. There's no argument that justifies anything else. It's all BS.

Go to 33:40, and see it for the first time on any consumer device, ever:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s72uTrA5EDY
Rating: 24 Votes
21 months ago

There are hundreds of other ways to zoom in and out, but pinch to zoom is by far the best/coolest/most natural, and everyone else wants it. Apple nailed it, and no one else wants to settle for less.

When Apple showed it for the first time, people ooh'd, ahh'd, clapped, whistled, and cheered, because it was THAT good. It had a huge impact, and it took years before anyone else had an OS that could hold a candle to iOS.

Now, everyone who copied the original, and was late to the party, wants what Apple has. But they don't want to work for it. They just want it. They feel entitled to it. They could use sliders UI's, knob UI's, they could swipe, use a magnifying glass like Adobe, etc, but no, it has to be Apple's method, because it's established (by the iPhone) as the best.

Lame. People say they want competition, then bitch because they've got nothing to bring to the table. They want to compete by making iPhones, rebranding them, and then pitting them against the iPhone. There's no argument that justifies anything else. It's all BS.


Apple did not invent pinch to zoom. Other companies did, Apple just copied it.
Rating: 24 Votes
21 months ago
They're totally right.... I mean, I was using pinch-to-zoom on everything before 2006. My flip phone, my XP tablet, my mini-xp tablet, my Rio MP3 player. It was getting so old by the time iPhone came out. I hope they burn. :(
Rating: 17 Votes
21 months ago

You are right, but an invention is nothing without a good implementation. Show me one device before the iPhone that had its class of multitouch capabilities? Just one. I'm waiting...


Again with the "Apple did it better than the guys before so Apple should be awarded their patent"

That's not the way patenting works...


It is on MacRumors with the Armchair lawyers.
Rating: 17 Votes
21 months ago

What companies shipped consumer products that included pinch to zoom as a feature? Please, list links to these products, companies, and patents.

Thx.

Here, go to 33:40, and note the reaction of the viewers.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s72uTrA5EDY


Just because Apple users don't know much about computer research doesn't mean nothing else exists:


Multi-touch technology began in 1982, when the University of Toronto's Input Research Group developed the first human-input multi-touch system. The system used a frosted-glass panel with a camera placed behind the glass. When a finger or several fingers pressed on the glass, the camera would detect the action as one or more black spots on an otherwise white background, allowing it to be registered as an input. Since the size of a dot was dependent on pressure (how hard the person was pressing on the glass), the system was somewhat pressure-sensitive as well.[2]

In 1983, Bell Labs at Murray Hill published a comprehensive discussion of touch-screen based interfaces.[6] In 1984, Bell Labs engineered a touch screen that could change images with more than one hand. In 1985, the University of Toronto group including Bill Buxton developed a multi-touch tablet that used capacitance rather than bulky camera-based optical sensing systems.[2]

Sears et al. (1990)[7] gave a review of academic research on single and multi-touch touchscreen human–computer interaction of the time, describing single touch gestures such as rotating knobs, swiping the screen to activate a switch (or a U-shaped gesture for a toggle switch), and touchscreen keyboards (including a study that showed that users could type at 25 wpm for a touchscreen keyboard compared with 58 wpm for a standard keyboard, with multi-touch hypothesized to improve data entry rate); multitouch gestures such as selecting a range of a line, connecting objects, and a "tap-click" gesture to select while maintaining location with another finger are also described.

A breakthrough occurred in 1991, when Pierre Wellner published a paper on his multi-touch "Digital Desk", which supported multi-finger and pinching motions.[8][9]


en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch
Rating: 14 Votes
21 months ago

You are right, but an invention is nothing without a good implementation. Show me one device before the iPhone that had its class of multitouch capabilities? Just one. I'm waiting...


Apple copying pinch to zoom from other companies doesn't give it a God given right to a patent for it.
Rating: 14 Votes
21 months ago

You are right, but an invention is nothing without a good implementation. Show me one device before the iPhone that had its class of multitouch capabilities? Just one. I'm waiting...


That's not the way patenting works...
Rating: 13 Votes

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