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USPTO Invalidates Apple’s “Pinch-to-Zoom” Patent

United States Patent and Trademark Office in Virginia | Wikipedia

United States Patent and Trademark Office in Virginia | Wikipedia

Last Wednesday’s Apple vs. Samsung court filing reveals that the US Patent and Trademark Office invalidated the former’s “pinch-to-zoom” patent. The said property is integral to the trial, as its claims were the basis of some of the $1.05 billion in damages won by Apple.

Invalidated Patent to Block Apple’s Injunction

Samsung brought the issue to the court’s attention in an effort to push its motion for a new trial. The company also said that the finding is relevant to block the iPhone maker’s motion for an injunction against some of their products. In relation to this, the USPTO decision invalidated all of Apple’s claims in US Patent No. 7,844,915 after reexamining the property.

Last Monday, presiding judge Lucy Koh denied both Samsung motion for a retrial and Apple’s request for an injunction. However, those decisions could be appealed at a later date.

During the Apple vs. Samsung jury trial, the Cupertino-based company asserted Claim 8 of the ‘915 patent. The claim covers the heuristics of the “pinch-to-zoom” gesture, which invokes the scaling of displayed content. In turn, the jury found all but two Samsung products brought to the court to infringe on the patent. As stated on Claim 8 of Patent ‘915:

8. A machine readable storage medium storing executable program instructions which when executed cause a data processing system to perform a method comprising: receiving a user input, the user input is one or more input points applied to a touch-sensitive display that is integrated with the data processing system; creating an event object in response to the user input; determining whether the event object invokes a scroll or gesture operation by distinguishing between a single input point applied to the touch-sensitive display that is interpreted as the scroll operation and two or more input points applied to the touch-sensitive display that are interpreted as the gesture operation; issuing at least one scroll or gesture call based on invoking the scroll or gesture operation; responding to at least one scroll call, if issued, by scrolling a window having a view associated with the event object; and responding to at least one gesture call, if issued, by scaling the view associated with the event object based on receiving the two or more input points in the form of the user input.

USPTO’s decision cited multiple cases of previous art, which includes two US patents, on international property and two Japanese filing. Last October, the Office invalidated Apple’s “rubber banding” or scroll bounce-back patent in a non-final Office action.

Meanwhile, Apple and Samsung will continue their post trial hearing this week, with Judge Lucy Koh expected to hand down her ruling, as well as an important judgment on damages.

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