USPTO Again Rejects Apple's Claim of Pinch-to-Zoom Patent

by

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has rejected claims by Apple that Samsung Electronics infringed on its "pinch-to-zoom" patent – one of the decisive claims in the ongoing litigations between the two tech giants. The patent, No. 7,844,915, was first filed back in November 2010 and described, "an environment with user interface software interacting with a software application".

ipad_3_hand
The patent was preliminarily rejected back in December 2012 before the final verdict was delivered today as they were anticipated, according to Computerworld, either by previous patents or were deemed unpatentable (as the technology has already been copied in other mobile operating systems, such as Google's Android).

During the original trials, the jury found that 21 out of the 24 Samsung smartphones and tablets presented to them as evidence infringed on Apple's pinch-to-zoom feature, which was first introduced on the original iPhone back in 2007. The patent covered a gesture whereby users can "pinch" outwards to zoom into an image, document or file.

The decision may have a serious impact on the ongoing trial, which saw Apple win a landmark victory against Samsung back in August 2012, in which it was awarded $1.05 billion in damages. Apple has up to two months to respond to the decision by the USPTO before it is finalised.

Top Rated Comments

quagmire Avatar
96 months ago

The patent was preliminarily rejected back in December 2012 before the final verdict was delivered today as they were anticipated, according to Computerworld, either by previous patents or were deemed unpatentable (as the technology has already been copied in other mobile operating systems, such as Google's Android).


Wasn't pinch to zoom one of the original 200+ patents Apple made before the iPhone debuted in 2007? So just because Android copied it later means the earlier patent before Android copied it is invalid? How is something unpatentable when Apple applied for the patent before it was copied?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Renzatic Avatar
96 months ago

Wasn't pinch to zoom one of the original 200+ patents Apple made before the iPhone debuted in 2007? So just because Android copied it later means the earlier patent before Android copied it is invalid? How is something unpatentable when Apple applied for the patent before it was copied?


For a couple of reasons.

1. Apple didn't come up with the concept of pinching to zoom on a touchscreen device. Their implementation is a little different than what's come before, but the basic idea had already walked around the blocks a few times before they got to it.

2. It's a gesture, and gestures on touchscreen devices need to be standardized across the board, not balkanized. Otherwise you'd have one company patenting things like the movements for using your finger to swipe left to turn a page, something that should be natural and immediately apparent.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
96 months ago
Pinch zoom on computers dates from at least 1983 (http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html).

It was later featured in both a 1993 concept film (scene cut) and a very popular 1996 book from a Sun Microsystems UI developer (http://www.asktog.com/columns/070iPhoneFirstLook.html):



In short, Apple never had a patent on pinch zoom, since they didn't invent it.

However, this particular patent tried to grab it anyway, by patenting the idea of discerning the use of one finger for scroll and two fingers for zoom. Yes, it's as bad as it sounds, simply combining two gestures. Small wonder that the USPTO found tons of prior art when they reviewed it.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
B4U Avatar
96 months ago
Pinch to zoom is not at all natural when comparing to flipping pages or even breathing. The argument of breathing is totally childish.
I can use books as an example for flipping pages with a real object.
Name one real world object that zooms in when you pinch it.
(Except your loved ones' cheeks. I was reminded last night...LOL)
If it was never applied before and makes all the sense now, maybe they should make it a FRAND patent.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutjob Avatar
96 months ago
What is wrong with the patent office doesn't it realize that Apple invented everything!

Let's face. Apple isn't interested in innovation because it doesn't do any. It has a great marketing machine and now it's deep in the patent troll business. Sad.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Renzatic Avatar
96 months ago

First of all, show me who had it first.

edit: Here you go (http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html). This does a pretty good job of going over the basics.

Second, your second "reason" is not a reason, but an opinion. And a pretty messed up one, at that.

What's messed up is your supporting a first come first serve notion to natural movements. Think of it like this. How do you turn pages? You flip them left and right. How do you drag through webpages? You scroll up and down. They're natural and ergonomic gestures that just make sense. So if Apple were able to patent a one finger drag gesture on a device that's built to accept inputs that's designed mimic natural movements, they're basically patenting obvious interactions.

You flip pages left and right using your fingers, ergo it makes sense to use your finger to scroll left and right through pages on a touchscreen device. Just because it uses touch to achieve the desired results doesn't change the same basic idea. The gesture itself shouldn't be patentable. The underlying implementation in software should be all that matters here.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
app store christmas icon

Apple Shutting Down App Store Connect From December 23 to December 27

Monday November 23, 2020 10:14 am PST by
Apple shuts down App Store Connect for a week around the holidays each year in an effort to give App Store staff time off from work. This year, App Store Connect will be unavailable from December 23 to December 27. With App Store Connect unavailable, Apple will not accept new apps or app updates, so all pricing changes and new app submissions need to be locked in before those dates for...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPad Deals [Updated]

Tuesday November 24, 2020 8:51 am PST by
Black Friday is underway, and we're tracking discounts across Apple's lineup of iPads, including the current-generation 10.2-inch iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. We'll be keeping this post updated as new deals appear and current ones expire, so be sure to keep checking back for the latest. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
Target November Deals 1

Black Friday Spotlight: Target Begins Week-Long Sale With Deals on iPhone 12, Powerbeats Pro, and More

Monday November 23, 2020 8:07 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Target. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....
new mac mini logicpro screen

M1 Macs Able to Run Up to Six External Displays Using DisplayLink

Tuesday November 24, 2020 6:53 am PST by
It is possible to run up to six external displays from the M1 Mac mini, and five external displays from the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, with the aid of DisplayPort adapters, according to YouTuber Ruslan Tulupov. This far exceeds Apple's specified limits on external displays with the M1 Macs. Apple's host of new M1 Macs are not capable of supporting as many external displays as their...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...