Apple’s ‘pinch-to-zoom’ patent invalidated by U.S. patent office

By Daniel S Levine,

Apple has been dealt another legal blow in its ongoing battle with its chief rival, Samsung, over smartphone technology. The company’s patent on the ‘pinch-to-zoom’ iPhone feature, which allows users to zoom in with simple gestures, has been temporarily invalidated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

According to The New York Times, this patent is one of six that jurors in August that had said that Samsung infringed on its smartphone designs. In that verdict, the jury ordered Samsung to pay $1.05 billion.

The feature is usually referred to as “pinch-to-zoom,” but Apple calls it a “scroll versus gesture” feature in its documents.

This decision follows an October ruling that the “rubber-banding” or “bounce” patent Apple had should also have never been given to the company. That is the feature that “bounces” web pages when users scroll down as far as they can.

Reuters reports that a judge also denied Apple’s request for an injunction on all Samsung smartphones Monday.

“It’s a strike against Apple, but it is far from the whole ballgame,” Stanford Law School professor Mark A. Lemley told the NY Times.

Apple will likely challenge the ruling, like it did in response to the October ruling.

Samsung and Apple are currently locked in patent disputes in 10 countries around the world. Apple’s shares have fallen recently, with investors growing nervous over the increasing number of rivals for the company.



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