The US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected an Apple, Inc. filing to patent “pinch to zoom” functionality. The patent was crucial to their ongoing and widespread dispute with Samsung, which is currently being tried in courtrooms across the globe.
The rejection of the patent’s 21 claims are deemed to be a “final office action” by the USPTO, but is open to appeal by Apple to the Patent Trial Appeal Board. A denied patent application in April led Apple to seek review, and this claim has met a similar decision, which means a similar request for review is expected. Apple can also seek a judicial review of the ruling, should they feel it necessary.
The crux of the patent filing is the ability to distinguish between a two finger pinch action and one finger scrolling on a touchscreen device. Of the 21 claims in this patent filing, claim eight is the most important to their Samsung issues. That claim was crucial to their $1.05 billion initial judgement, but with a settlement review, it could unravel a bit for Apple.
This coincides with another rejected Apple patent that figured prominently in their legal issues with Samsung, the “overscroll bounce” patent. As Apple continues to seek review of their rejected patent applications, Samsung will continue to argue for lesser damages to be paid to the Cupertino company. Like many lawsuits of its kind, this one is becoming less sensational as the judicial and patent system work the kinks out. Apple will undoubtedly reap rewards, but it looks like that original $1.05 billion amount, and maybe even the later judgement for half that amount, may not happen.