• USPTO Finalizes Rejection of Apple's Pinch-to-Zoom Patent



    The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently issued a “final” rejection of Apple’s pinch-to-zoom patent, opening the door for chief rival, Samsung, to push back even more against its loss in last summer’s $1.05 billion patent infringement. According to FOSS Patents, Samsung filed notice with U.S. courts of the USPTO’s decision to reject all of the claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,844,915. The ruling rejects claims 1 through 21 of Apple’s filing, but holds that they are all subject to reexamination.

    The final office action found that Apple’s claims in the patent were both anticipated by prior art references and obvious according to the combination of another two other prior art references. The USPTO had issued a tentative invalidation of Apple’s patent back in December, calling into question just how much of Apple’s $1.05 billion victory over Samsung could remain intact. The pinch-to-zoom patent, according to Apple’s own damages claims, was the most valuable software patent at issue in the case. Florian Mueller noted that the patents that Apple has put forward in its second patent action against Samsung are “on average, considerably more valuable than the ones asserted in the first case.”

    The pinch-to-zoom patent isn’t the only one of Apple’s filings to see eventual rejection from the USPTO. In October, the agency invalidated the rubber-banding patent, stating that a number of its claims were anticipated or obvious due to prior art. The result of the USPTO’s “final” action on the patent is open to interpretation though. Apple now has two months to argue the validity of its patent before the invalidation goes into effect. Even following that, there is an appeals process that could see the legal and regulatory action over pinch-to-zoom stretching into mid-2017 or beyond, according to some observers.

    Just last year, a Dutch court found that Samsung had not infringed Apple’s pinch-to-zoom patent. Apple has also unsuccessfully asserted that patent in Britain against HTC, as well as in Germany against Samsung and Motorola.

    The patent war between Apple and Samsung continues.

    Source: FOSS Patents, Scribd
    This article was originally published in forum thread: USPTO Finalizes Rejection of Apple's Pinch-to-Zoom Patent started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. wiipro's Avatar
      wiipro -
      Fast reaction
    1. bmwraw8482's Avatar
      bmwraw8482 -
      So they can't patent pinch to zoom but they can patent rounded corners.... Something's wrong here
    1. holyshnikes's Avatar
      holyshnikes -
      Stupid decision. Pinch to zoom was and still is a trademark of the iPhone. It was showcased at the first WWDC when it was introduced.
    1. ZSakowski's Avatar
      ZSakowski -
      Huh? Does this mean that Apple can't claim exclusivity over "pinch to zoom"? Or that they didn't come up with it first?
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      Wasn't pinch-to-zoom in 2002's Minority Report?
    1. jOnGarrett's Avatar
      jOnGarrett -
      Quote Originally Posted by bmwraw8482 View Post
      So they can't patent pinch to zoom but they can patent rounded corners.... Something's wrong here
      agree, about software not pinch to zoom. its ridiculous that a company can patent a rectangle with rounded corners.

      Quote Originally Posted by holyshnikes View Post
      Stupid decision. Pinch to zoom was and still is a trademark of the iPhone. It was showcased at the first WWDC when it was introduced.
      the experts disagree. besides, its not a pinching action to zoom--its a spreading apart of the fingers to zoom. a pinching gesture does NOT zoom on ANY device so to say they should be awarded a patent for a pinching to zoom action is ridiculous.
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      It sounds like its an issue with wording more than anything but I'm no expert. You can patent a shape with round corners but not an action that no one performed before the iPhone dropped? All i can say is get out of court and use the millions of $$ you waste there on new tech.
    1. djrbx's Avatar
      djrbx -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jahooba View Post
      Wasn't pinch-to-zoom in 2002's Minority Report?
      Yes it was, a full 5 years before the iPhone was first introduced. Although Tom Cruse in the film used full arm actions, I still agree that patenting an action is stupid. Same goes for patenting round corners.
    1. alanjf's Avatar
      alanjf -
      Quote Originally Posted by holyshnikes View Post
      Stupid decision. Pinch to zoom was and still is a trademark of the iPhone. It was showcased at the first WWDC when it was introduced.
      No, Apple did not invent this. They just used what someone else came up with long before.

      Have a look at this article as well as the references at the bottom.

      Here are some interesting tidbits:
      In 1983 the video-based Video Place/Video Desk system of Myron Krueger was influential in development of multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom.[8][9]
      An advance occurred in 1991, when Pierre Wellner published a paper on his multi-touch "Digital Desk", which supported multi-finger and pinching motions.[11][12]
      And here is a back in 1991. Several concepts should look familiar, including pinching, grabbing, and other finger based gestures that should be familiar to most touchscreen users. Concepts like pinch-to-zoom is yet another thing that Apple did not invent but has no problem essentially taking credit for. Suffice it to say, like any other basic human motion, no one has any business holding a patent for a basic gesture.
    1. cgfusion's Avatar
      cgfusion -
      So did someone have a patent on this already? No! Apple applied properly for the Patent. Once again America is supporting foreign companies. What a joke! U support an American company where the profits are here. Shame on so called Americans who buy Samdung and bash Apple. Go live in Korea.
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