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.

patent915
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.

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Top Rated Comments

gotluck Avatar
149 months ago
puts on flamesuit

i don't think this should be a patent
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MassiveAttack Avatar
149 months ago
Thank you US Patent Office! =)
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SomeDudeAsking Avatar
149 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.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SomeDudeAsking Avatar
149 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.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mentholiptus Avatar
149 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:

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=s72uTrA5EDY
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dr McKay Avatar
149 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.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)