USPTO rejects Apple's 'pinch to zoom' patent used in Samsung case

Summary:The Apple-Samsung saga takes another turn thanks to a new decision at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Has Samsung scored a minor victory it its seemingly never-ending war against Apple?

It looks like it as United States Patent and Trademark Office has invalidated 20 claims related to the "pinch to zoom" patent cited in Apple v. Samsung.

Samsung's lawyers made this aware to the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California in a filing on Wednesday. Here's a snippet:

This Office Action is relevant to Samsung's Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, New Trial and/or Remittitur (Dkt No. 1990) and Samsung's Opposition to Apple’s Motion for a Permanent Injunction and Damages Enhancement (Dkt No. 2054) because it rejects all claims, including Claim 8, the only claim at issue at trial in this action.

This reversal could be essential in helping Samsung's move for a retrial -- if not at least reducing financial damages on the Galaxy phone maker's part.

The U.S. patent in question is No. 7,844,915. Again, the simple definition is that this is related to the pinch to zoom touch gesture on smartphone and tablet displays, but here's the legalese definition outlined in the patent:

At least certain embodiments of the present disclosure include an environment with user interface software interacting with a software application. A method for operating through an application programming interface (API) in this environment includes transferring a set bounce call. The method further includes setting at least one of maximum and minimum bounce values. The set bounce call causes a bounce of a scrolled region in an opposite direction of a scroll based on a region past an edge of the scrolled region being visible in a display region at the end of the scroll.

Here's the full copy of Samsung's statement regarding the USPTO's latest decision:

Apple v. Samsung: USPTO Decision

Topics: Patents, Apple, Government : US, Legal, Samsung

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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