US patent office rejects Apple’s ‘pinch to zoom’ patent claims

Of all the patents that Apple has sued Samsung over in the past couple of years, the pinch to zoom patent was perhaps the one that always came to the fore in every discussion related to the legal tussles, and in a move that will not make Apple happy, the US patent office (USPTO) has rejected claims of the Cupertino company to the pinch to zoom functionality.

The rejection of the patent’s 21 claims are deemed to be a “final office action” by the USPTO, after passing a preliminary ruling in December 2012 that the patent claims were invalid, but is open to appeal by Apple to the Patent Trial Appeal Board, similar to the “overscroll bounce” patent that was rejected in April and is currently under review. Claim eight is the most important here, as it was the one that got the courts to make Samsung pay $1 billion in damages, but with the claim now nullified, it seems things could get a bit uneven for Apple.

Whatever may happen in the coming months, this ruling is enormously in Samsung’s favor (and a big win in the fight against silly software patents), and it’s great to see the USPTO actually acting sensibly for a change (even if they did pass the patent initially). The war is far from over, but hey, Samsung is no doubt very happy to have a cause for celebration, and here’s hoping there’s many more to come.



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