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.
"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
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
Quick Note: Whoops, Microsoft Pushed Unwanted Windows 10 to Some Users
October 15, 2015, 9:04 PM
Quick Note: Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10565 Fixes Boot Camp 6.0 Issues
October 13, 2015, 11:39 AM
Microsoft's HD-500 ("Display Dock"), the Magic Sauce Behind Continuum
October 6, 2015, 5:30 PM
Quick Note: Windows 10 Hits 110 Million Devices, VMs
October 6, 2015, 4:30 PM
Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi, IoT Devices Sees Developer Debut
August 12, 2015, 2:41 PM
Sony Issues Bizzare "Do Not Update" Edict to VAIO PC Owners
August 11, 2015, 9:42 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
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
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information