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

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

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  • But this is impossible, we were PROMISED

    We were PROMISED by apple folk that apple had patents and therefore no one could implement multi-touch or release black rectangular devices. When it was pointed out that getting a patent is the easy part, it is defending a patent that is tough, we were told that we didn't know what we were talking about.

    Huh. Looks like we knew what we were talking about. As of right now, if apple doesn't successfully counter, those patents are GONE.

    apple folk, remember this day. apple patents are invalidated. It happens. In the future, when your best defense is "apple has the patent, it's all over for the competition" remember that no, apple doesn't have anything other than a rubber stamped patent application until that patent has gone through a challenge phase.

    This is a fantastic day for every consumer out there. Samsung should not be punished simply because they DARED to release a product that competes (and competes very well) against apple. apple needs to innovate, not litigate. Judging by how badly apple lost this today, they should probably focus on innovating things that haven't been innovated before. Innovation tends to work much better that way.

    Hopefully this will result in apple releasing better products than Ping, Maps, and very lackluster iPhone and iPad iterations. I was very happy with my iPhone 4. My iPad 2, while a HORRIBLE content creation device, was a pretty good content consumption device. Not quite as good as the Surface RT but a valiant effort by apple. We need more releases like the iPhone 4 and fewer like the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.

    apple, please innovate, not litigate. You lost me as a customer but you could always get me back by, you know, doing something crazy like releasing products that are better than what Nokia and MS are releasing.
    • Even better was the reason given.

      "all 21 claims of the patent were invalid based on claims from other patents, including one from the U.S. and one from Japan." Would be funny if the original filers of the other patents now asked apple for license royalties for using their ip. :)
      Johnny Vegas
      • MS fans who live in glass houses...

        ...should refrain from throwing stones. That could just as easily been an MS patent that was invalidated.
        John L. Ries
        • But it wasn't

          It was many, many Apple patents that were crushed.

          Stay on point. Focus.
        • Could have been

          but wasn't. Nice try but this was about apple. This was about the patents that the isheep were crowing about in relation to the 1bn damages award. The same isheep that have repeated the 1bn award over the last few weeks.

          Yes, the same one's mysteriously absent from this discussion. Where are dderss and danbi when you want their input? How strange they're not here crowing about apple's rock solid patent portfolio. 2 down, how many more to go?
          Little Old Man
    • You're an Apple customer?

      Since when? Haven't you been badmouthing Apple ever since you posted your first Talkback?
      John L. Ries
      • Yes, I am an apple customer

        I own an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2. Both are collecting dust now that I've purchased the far superior Microsoft Surface RT and Nokia Lumia 920. apple simply couldn't keep up, they've gotten lazy. It happens.
  • Where is Mr. Perlow

    and his expert analysis? I need answers now????? He assured me that the apple verdict against Samsung was the beginning of the end for Android!!!
    • Florian Mueller

      You sure you aren't referring to Florian Mueller? He still is writing about how Android is doomed...
      • no

        Im talking about Jason Perlow. He was one of the debators here stating that Samsung's guilty verdict was the beginning of the downfall of android. Even though this case was about Samsung and not about android at all. He actually won the debate because supposedly he made the better argument.
    • Seriously?

      You really need to find better 'experts'...
  • MMm.. alas, not quite correct.

    My understanding is that an ex parte rejection isn't an actual rejection - it's more a 'notice to reject' and worse, it gives Apple (and only Apple) the right to challenge the rejection and defend their patent.

    Samsung has informed Judge Koh for obvious reasons - the fact that the patent has been rejected ex parte means the USPTO has reconsidered the validity of the patent and if their decision stands, it's a HUGE victory for Samsung.

    But unless a final decision was reached in the last 24-48hrs by the USPTO, the patent is still valid.
    • You're quite right

      However the USPTO seemed quite confident that they had debunked all claims within the patent with regards to originality.
      Absolutely true that this could turn around and the patent upheld but it looks unlikely.
      Little Old Man
  • Wouldn't it be nice

    Wouldn't it be nice if the holders of the patents that invalidate the Apple patent decided to file suit against Apple for using their IP without permission and could score a sales injunction and all profits from sales of the devices (same penalties Apple seems to be fond of asking for).