Apple ‘pinch-to-zoom’ patent rejected

Patent agency invalidates key patent in Apple legal battle

Patent agency invalidates key patent in Apple legal battle

Apple’s ‘pinch-to-zoom’ patent, a key part of its lawsuit against Samsung for patent infringement, is under review by the US Patent & Trademark Office

The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has said that Apple’s ‘pinch-to-zoom’ patent should not have been awarded. USPTO made this announcement as part of a preliminary ruling reviewing the patent in question.

This patent – which is based around the human gesture of using the thumb and forefinger to activate a screen zoom function on an Apple iPhone – was one of the key parts of Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung, which resulted in a California Court awarding Apple $1bn in damages.

The ‘pinch-to-zoom’ patent is now under review with USPTO, although for now it remains valid, and Apple is expected to appeal USPTO’s ruling.

If the ruling stands, however, this could lead to a reduction in the amount of damages Apple receives from Samsung.

The ‘pinch-to-zoom’ patent is the second of Apple’s patents that USPTO has put under review in as many months. Apple’s ‘rubber-band’ user-interface – which allows lists to snap back after a user scrolls to the end of them – was put under review by USPTO in October of this year.