USPTO rejects Apple’s 'pinch to zoom' patent (again)

USPTO rejects Apple’s 'pinch to zoom' patent (again)

Summary: Rejected claims in a key Apple touchscreen patent could have an impact on its patent suit with Samsung.

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TOPICS: Patents, Apple, Samsung
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The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has once again rejected Apple's claims over a patent that plays a key role in its infringement suit with rival Samsung.

Samsung's legal team on Sunday filed in a US court the USPTO's "final" decision to reject 20 claims in Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent 7,844,915. Apple now has two months to argue for its validity.

The USPTO similarly rejected Apple's claims in the same patent last December and both times it has rejected claim 8, which was central to a jury's previous finding that 21 Samsung devices infringed on Apple's patent.

As noted by patents expert Florian Mueller, a jury will be asked this November to reassess damages to be awarded to Apple based on 13 Samsung products, including 12 that were found to infringe patent '915.

Total damages to Apple were set at $1.05bn last year but the final amount is still pending further court decisions.

Despite the seemingly negative outcome for Apple, it remains to be seen what impact the USPTO's latest decision has on the US company's legal prospects against Samsung.

As previously noted by Mueller, Apple has argued that in the US it would still be entitled to already-awarded damages even if claims in the patent were later cancelled under re-examination. Apple does not expect those claims to be invalidated until at least 2017.

The other key Apple patent that has faced re-examination is Patent No. 7,469, 381 covering its "rubber band"  touchscreen feature. The USPTO in April gave a 'final' rejection to most of the claims in that patent, leaving Apple with the opportunity to appeal to its appeals board or the courts.

Topics: Patents, Apple, Samsung

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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10 comments
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  • So good to see the patent troll getting punched in the gut

    Boo apple.

    Kudos Samsung.

    Kudos USPTO.

    I still wish the process wasn't so backward where anyone could get a patent and it is then up to your competitors to get it invalidated at their own cost. Even worse is that apple is claiming that they should still be entitled to receive payment for a patent that was never valid in the first place.

    Again, boo apple. That morally bankrupt, convicted anti-trust violator needs to be pushed down a few notched. Seeing Samsung surpass apple's profit is a nice start.
    toddbottom3
  • ui patent

    To be fair, UI should not be patented UNLESS one product copy another product UI 100%

    At the end of the day Apple copies, Microsoft copies, Linux copies each other UI elements !
    ThinkFairer8
  • I always found this patent odd

    I know there was prior art - the original Microsoft Surface (the touch screen game table, not the tablet), not to mention Minority Report.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
  • Florian Mueller is no expert. Patent or otherwise.

    He is a paid shill of Oracle and MS.

    Almost everything he says is false, and all legal predictions opposite what happens.
    jessepollard
    • He is a paid shill of Oracle and MS

      And Apple (unless someone pays more)
      Boothy_p
  • Please explain what qualifies Florian Mueller as a "patents expert".

    He has no legal qualifications that I'm aware of. AFAIK, he just has a blog. So where does this "expertise" come from?
    Zogg
    • Er

      It's proof that if you say something enough and get a few people to believe it, then they start saying it too.
      Then the tech "journalists" start believing it too, and report it as fact.
      Soon more people believe it too.
      And someday someone will realize the internet lied to them............
      Boothy_p
      • Re: the internet lied to them.

        Nope, the Internet never lies.

        It is just that people seek to see things that they wish were true and thus happily delude themselves.
        danbi
  • Holly-Molly - people still quote Florian Mueller as "expert"?

    i can't believe it...
    vgrig
    • its okay to quote him

      however, don't call him "patents expert", call him who he is: a patent trolling expert.
      eulampius