Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent invalidated by USPTO

Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent invalidated by USPTO
It might just be patent 7,844,915, but most smartphone users know it as "pinch-to-zoom." When Apple launched the Apple iPhone in 2007, the gesture became instantly associated with the device. Other manufacturers were a little frightened to use "pinch-to-zoom," so much so that when the Motorola DROID launched in November 2009, it did not offer the gesture on the browser. Meanwhile, the overseas version of the phone, the Motorola MILESTONE, did allow for "pinch-to-zoom" throughout the handset including the browser. The functionality was finally brought to the DROID browser with a software update. As early as February 2009, speculation was that Apple had asked Google to keep multitouch off of Android models.

All of the reasons stated back then for the lack of multitouch on Android, like Andy Rubin's hatred for two-handed operations, or Apple asking Google to pretty-please keep it off Android, seem like fairy tales today. What has changed? The fierceness of the rivalry between Apple and Android manufacturers is now so intense that a cross-eyed look ends up in a lawsuit. Let's keep it real. What kept multitouch and "pinch-to-zoom" off Android phones at first, was the fear of a lawsuit. And while some Android manufacturers settled with Apple, like HTC, the patent was one of many that Apple accused Samsung of infringing on in the patent trial that ended in August with a $1.05 billion verdict in Apple's favor.

Some good news for Samsung came down from the USPTO on Wednesday when the agency invalidated Apple's "pinch-to-zoom" patent after re-examination found previous patents on record. This is the second major Apple patent ruled invalid (first was the rubber banding or bounce scroll) and Samsung says it supports its request for a new trial. Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the patent trial, recently refused Apple's request for a ban on certain Samsung devices, saying that the specific product is no longer for sale, or no longer infringes on an Apple patent due to a software update. She also refused to go along with a request by Samsung for a new trial based on what Sammy claims were improper and inappropriate actions by jury foreman Velvin Hogan. Samsung believes that Hogan failed to tell the court certain things that might have led Samsung's legal team to challenge him more forcefully during jury selection.

But that is all water under the bridge with this new ruling by the USPTO. The ruling could put some teeth in Samsung's request for a new, lower damages amount and might even help the Korean based tech titan earn a new trial.

source: WSJ

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66 Comments

64. _PHug_

Posts: 482; Member since: Oct 11, 2011

Looks like HTC passed their milk money over to the bully but Samsung fought back

63. _PHug_

Posts: 482; Member since: Oct 11, 2011

Wow! I thought Apple did invent this one. Not even being sarcastic.

62. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

This patent was too broad to begin with. EVERY touch screen device benefits from this type of technology. For Apple to be successfully patent such a crucial interactive operation, is highly anti-competitve. For a company such as Apple to obstinately forego licensing to other companies, this technology is abused to quell or eliminate competiton as we have witnessed in the industry. The costs are inherently passed on to consumers. The USPTO is avenging its mistake in granting such a broad sourced technology. We new to see more of these as well as promoting are keener sense of what can or can't be granted IP ownership. John B.

61. apexKBC

Posts: 92; Member since: Dec 10, 2012

i think Apple is like John Cena i never quit. but ur tym is over now...

60. Lwazi_N

Posts: 205; Member since: Jun 23, 2011

iLol iLove iThis!

58. amozhi

Posts: 131; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

Great news before end of the world :-) Android is even more free now...

56. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

this is a disgrace.. is not Apple's fault that the USTPO has it's flaws... isntead of putting so many Android carppy devices they should focus on something that Android has been playing catch up... customer service... I wil stop there need to write my letter of discontent.. to the f' USTPO..

57. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Not trying to be funny....but I really have no idea what this post means. All I can really tell is you're mad that it doesnt favor Apple...

59. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Can't even begin to pretend I understood anything in that statement other than you're mad Apple got their BS patent invalidated because it already existed. You might want to come up for air before you get chrones when you have to rush to the surface to avoid going down with that sinking ship. Beginning to wonder what the hell took so long to render this patent invalid, seriously aren't all these patents in a computer somewhere so you can reference them instantaneously? At least the USPTO is now reviewing patents that are used in lawsuits at the moment, since they are sporting such large sums of money and would be a grave error on their part to allow monies to exchange hands and they we at fault in it. Heck they should review all of Apple's patents awarded from 2000 till the present, for obvious reasons...these guys filed way too many patents for a company who hasn't really done anything relatively new in the tech space. Everyone else should have their patent wording be made more concise and not broad as possible you know the way Apple likes to make their wording.

66. tedkord

Posts: 17544; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Imagine how that letter to the USPTO is going to read. Can you see them standing around the letter scratching their heads. And this guy claims to have a career in broadcasting. I can only assume it's for a non English broadcaster.

65. tedkord

Posts: 17544; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I agree. Once Apple steals someone else's idea, it should be theirs alone. Only Apple can steal. Now, back to the real world. It's about time the USPTO actually did their jobs and kept patents limited only to new, unique and unobvious inventions, not old inventions with the words "on a smartphone" tacked on to the end. Next, they need to look into whether or not Apple actually invented rectangles with round edges. I think they may find a case or two of prior art there. (LG Prada)

55. hanapupu

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 03, 2012

oh boy! it is good news for apple to end 2012 :D love it

52. JunkCreek

Posts: 407; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

Myz, it is invalidated, where are you?

53. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Hanging out at Starbucks trying to avoid your question.

51. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1227; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Unlucky Apple :) The rest of their patents should also be reevaluated.

47. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I'm actually surprised at this one. This is one I always said they can have it. Wow.... Hmmmmm....that billion dollar settlement.......is gonna be smaller n smaller. It has to be. 3 major patents invalidated?

46. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

APPLE lost even more money on that 1 billion dollar...maybe they the judge will have mercy on them and let them take 100 million for APPLE.

45. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1292; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Waiting List is:- Rectangle design with rounded Corners... Slide to Unlock... Local and Universal Search... Action based on link, say on clicking a phone number in SMS, options show as call/SMS/Skype/Save, etc...

44. raunak

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 12, 2011

oh sorry my mistake. i thought you meant that the phone released in nov 2009 and got update in feb 2009 lol

43. raunak

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 12, 2011

i think you mean feb 2010 for the update

42. ilia1986 unregistered

Justice prevails once again. :D

39. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

N how bout stopping Apple to force HTC for fees on pinch to zoom

38. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

Good.

32. AnnDroid

Posts: 92; Member since: Aug 02, 2011

OOOOHHHH! This is the best Christmas present!!!!!

33. ray77

Posts: 126; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

YES INDEED

31. ray77

Posts: 126; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

A OTHER LOSE FOR APPLE AN KEEP ROLLING ON!!!!

25. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

APPLE BEING TOO DAMN GREEDY with pinch to ZOOM they think THEY INVENTED EVERYTHING was created by Microsoft in the first place U CAN'T BAN ANYONE not to use this technology. Even some cars have built in touch screens that USES PINCH TO ZOOM. and its bout damn time USPTO realize this PATENT WAS DUMB

29. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

The patent was ruled not valid. That is quite different from dumb. Dumb generally means not unique.

22. joseg81

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

uspto should really do better work n not let stuff like this slip thru the cracks. glad they finally got their head out of their a$$es.

20. azafirster

Posts: 44; Member since: May 01, 2012

Some good news for Samsung came down from the USPTO on Wednesday when the agency invalidated Apple's "pinch-to-zoom" patent after re-examination found previous patents on record. >>> so who does that patent belong to????

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