Another Key Apple Patent, Pinch to Zoom, is Rejected by USPTO
December 20, 2012 12:59 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Orion Pictures)
Rejection is still preliminary, just like past rejections
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
's (USPTO) Central Reexamination Office (CRO) has damaged Apple, Inc.'s (
) legal campaign against rival smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) with its third in a series of major patent rejections in recent months.
On Wednesday, the CRO
[PDF] that Apple's "pinch to zoom" patent --
U.S. Patent No. 7,844,915
[PDF]. The patent claims the invention of a number of things multi-touch related -- including being able to distinguish between single finger scrolling gestures and a plurality of multi-finger gestures, including the aforementioned pinch to zoom.
These multi-touch techniques were largely first demonstrated in the 1980s in the world of academia by groups such as Myron Krueger's team at the
University of Toronto
. Professor Krueger developed and published papers on virtually equivalent pinch-to-zoom multi-touch technology
almost 25 years prior
to Apple producing its
first multi-touch device
Myron Krueger developed pinch-to-zoom [pictured] in the 1980s. [Image Source: Bill Buxton]
The '915 patent joins the "
rubber band patent
U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381
, aka the '381 patent) and the "
Steve Jobs [multi-touch] patent
U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949
, aka the '949 patent) in patents that were rejected in preliminary rulings by USPTO reviewers.
All three patents will next be headed to the
Patent Trial and Appeal Board
(PTAB) -- a court of sorts at the USPTO -- for a final ruling. Assuming the PTAB sticks to its latest decision (which is not guaranteed, but is often the case), the ruling can be appealed to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
if Apple chooses.
How critical would it be if these three Apple patents were invalidated? The invalidation would eliminate two out of the three utility patents that Apple asserted in winning a
$1.05B USD verdict
against Samsung. As a result the invalidations could slash hundreds of millions of dollars off the damages verdict.
One advantage Apple does have in both the '915 and '381 invalidations is that they are
evaluations; meaning that Apple is the only party the USPTO is discussing the matter with. Thus it's possible Apple could rectify the language in the patent to be less ambiguous, but in such a way to try to preserve its trial verdict against Samsung.
Also, it should be noted that while all of the patent's 21 claims were rejected, only a single claim -- Claim 8 -- was used in the Samsung case.
SBNation [The Verge] [PDF] 
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
Getting it right
12/20/2012 5:03:03 PM
Let's get it correct and explain it accurately...
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act allow
who files and pays ~ $17,000 to demand that the USPTO reassess an issued patent. The USPTO then will decide if it will reassess the patent (which so far has been 99% of the time). (Any reader/poster here on DT could do the same.)
While the patent is being reassessed it is temporarily "invalidated". What it really means in non legal speak is that the patent is once again under review. A patent under review (being reassessed, temporarily invalidated, or whatever term you want to use) is still legally enforceable.
The patent being still legally enforceable does not invalidate the court case based upon this (and other) patents.
During the review Apple will be required to come into the USPTO and explain why Apple believes the patent is still valid. If the USPTO goes with Apple's story then the patent is reaffirmed. If the USPTO does not go with Apple's story then the patent is permanently invalidated and Apple loses all legal standing on that patent. If this happens then all lawsuits Apple has put forth based upon this patent will be dismissed almost immediately.
To sum up:
Samsung filed and paid to have the patent reviewed.
The USPTO agreed to review it.
Apple will need to justify the patent in great detail.
The patent is still legally enforceable while under review.
It may be many, many months before the USPTO makes a final ruling.
The bottom line is nothing has changed at the moment and likely won't for a long time.
Look forward to many, many more of these kinds of filings in the future to get patents "invalidated" -- at least in the eyes of the public. Expect Apple to do it to Samsung and Google and Motorola. Expect Microsoft to do it to Google and Motorola. Expect Google to do it to Apple and Microsoft. $17,000 or so is a trivial amount to these companies (it probably costs more than that just to have the lawyers draw up the paperwork). And on and on and on it goes.
"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
USPTO Moves "Steve Jobs" Multitouch Patent a Step Away from the Trash Can
December 10, 2012, 10:26 AM
USPTO Makes Preliminary Move to Kill Apple's Rubber Band Patent
October 24, 2012, 11:00 AM
Doomsday for Samsung in U.S., Jury Rules it Slavishly Infringed Apple's Patents
August 24, 2012, 5:56 PM
Apple Sells 525,000 iPhones in Three Days
July 2, 2007, 12:00 PM
Apple Releases iOS 8.1; Adds Apple Pay Support, SMS Relay, Instant Hotspot
October 20, 2014, 1:00 PM
Quick Note: Android Gmail App to Gain Yahoo, Outlook Account Support
October 20, 2014, 9:15 AM
Sony Gets With the Program, Pledges to Update Entire Xperia Z Lineup to “Lollipop”
October 17, 2014, 9:28 AM
HP webOS Support, Cloud Services to Go Offline on January 15, 2015
October 16, 2014, 12:29 PM
Windows 10 Technical Preview: Over One Million Testers and Counting
October 13, 2014, 4:41 PM
Update: Apple Confirms October 16 Event for New Hardware, Software
October 8, 2014, 2:29 PM
Most Popular Articles
Chinese Government Declares Digital War Against America's Top Tech Firms
October 20, 2014, 12:07 PM
PS4 "Masamune" Update 2.0 Will Bring New Music and Customization Features
October 17, 2014, 1:05 PM
Report: 2015 Ford Focus Electric MSRP Slashed by $6,000, Will Retail for $29,995
October 18, 2014, 6:23 PM
Cool Science Video of the Day: Carnivorous Leech Eats Giant Jungle Worm
October 16, 2014, 6:44 PM
Update: Motorola Droid Turbo Coming Oct 28, 48-hour Battery Life Confirmed
October 19, 2014, 9:19 PM
Latest Blog Posts
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information