USPTO Again Rejects Apple's Claim of Pinch-to-Zoom Patent

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has rejected claims by Apple that Samsung Electronics infringed on its "pinch-to-zoom" patent - one of the decisive claims in the ongoing litigations between the two tech giants. The patent, No. 7,844,915, was first filed back in November 2010 and described, "an environment with user interface software interacting with a software application".

    The patent was preliminarily rejected back in December 2012 before the final verdict was delivered today as they were anticipated, according to Computerworld, either by previous patents or were deemed unpatentable (as the technology has already been copied in other mobile operating systems, such as Google's Android).

    During the original trials, the jury found that 21 out of the 24 Samsung smartphones and tablets presented to them as evidence infringed on Apple's pinch-to-zoom feature, which was first introduced on the original iPhone back in 2007. The patent covered a gesture whereby users can "pinch" outwards to zoom into an image, document or file.

    The decision may have a serious impact on the ongoing trial, which saw Apple win a landmark victory against Samsung back in August 2012, in which it was awarded $1.05 billion in damages. Apple has up to two months to respond to the decision by the USPTO before it is finalised.

    Article Link: USPTO Again Rejects Apple's Claim of Pinch-to-Zoom Patent
  2. macrumors 68020


    Jan 28, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Bad news Monday for apple..
  3. macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    Wasn't pinch to zoom one of the original 200+ patents Apple made before the iPhone debuted in 2007? So just because Android copied it later means the earlier patent before Android copied it is invalid? How is something unpatentable when Apple applied for the patent before it was copied?
  4. macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2011
    It's like trying to patent rounded corners-

    Oh wait.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Nov 23, 2011
    This, I absolutely agree.

    "So let's not use a stylus, we're going to use the best pointing device in the world -- our fingers. We have invented a new technology called multi-touch. It works like magic, you don't need a stylus, far more accurate than any interface ever shipped, it ignores touches, mutli-finger gestures, and BOY have we patented it!" - Steve Jobs
  6. macrumors demi-god


    Feb 20, 2012
    Las Vegas
    iOS which came out before android could not have copied android. Sounds likes someone just doesn't likes Apple.
  7. macrumors 6502


    Feb 14, 2012
    I'm very pleased by this. I think that gestures such as pinch to zoom should not be patentable.
  8. macrumors 68000


    Nov 23, 2011
    Hi Acidsplat,

    Would you be kind enough to direct me to the patent Apple submitted for rounded corners? See, I keep hearing about it, but I can only assume it's FUD spread by Samsung as I can't find evidence of it anywhere.
  9. macrumors G3


    For a couple of reasons.

    1. Apple didn't come up with the concept of pinching to zoom on a touchscreen device. Their implementation is a little different than what's come before, but the basic idea had already walked around the blocks a few times before they got to it.

    2. It's a gesture, and gestures on touchscreen devices need to be standardized across the board, not balkanized. Otherwise you'd have one company patenting things like the movements for using your finger to swipe left to turn a page, something that should be natural and immediately apparent.
  10. macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2012
    I hate to be caught up in patent talk .. But pinch to zoom was revolutionary apple
  11. macrumors 6502


    Feb 14, 2012
    This. Exactly this.
  12. macrumors 68020

    Nov 10, 2007
    First of all, show me who had it first.

    Second, your second "reason" is not a reason, but an opinion. And a pretty messed up one, at that.
  13. macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    I think it's : this one.

    It's not precisely a patent on rounded corners, but a community design patent in which rounded corners form an important part of the form factor.
  14. macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    I get that argument.

    I just don't get the argument of since Android copied it, it's unpatentable....

    Overall I agree on gestures. I think the slide to unlock patent is the most messed up patent. Rubber banding effect? That's not necessary for touchscreen operation so I am fine with Apple being able to patent that.
  15. macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    While I don't think pinch-to-zoom should be patentable in the first place, I too was confused by this part.

    What's the point of a patent if it's invalidated just by the fact that it's not respected? That totally goes against its very purpose, doesn't it?

    I know patents get invalidated when their owner don't take legal action to make sure they're respected, but that's not really what happened here…

    That's similar to a prior art evidence, except it came after.
    Can we call that "Post art" evidence? :confused: Makes no sense.
  16. macrumors 6502


    Feb 14, 2012
    From what I understand they applied back then, but were never approved. The lack of approval was in part to other touch screens using it.
  17. Renzatic, Jul 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013

    macrumors G3


    edit: Here you go. This does a pretty good job of going over the basics.

    What's messed up is your supporting a first come first serve notion to natural movements. Think of it like this. How do you turn pages? You flip them left and right. How do you drag through webpages? You scroll up and down. They're natural and ergonomic gestures that just make sense. So if Apple were able to patent a one finger drag gesture on a device that's built to accept inputs that's designed mimic natural movements, they're basically patenting obvious interactions.

    You flip pages left and right using your fingers, ergo it makes sense to use your finger to scroll left and right through pages on a touchscreen device. Just because it uses touch to achieve the desired results doesn't change the same basic idea. The gesture itself shouldn't be patentable. The underlying implementation in software should be all that matters here.
  18. macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    Yeah I understand that. That would have made sense if said other touch screens had it before (prior art). They actually had it after the patent application.

    So basically, patents are worthless if competitors can copy you faster than it takes time for the USPTO to approve the patent. At the pace technology is evolving, and considering it takes like 3 years to approve patents, that's a bit ridiculous.

    But all this is assuming pinch-to-zoom was part of the original patents Apple applied for in 2007, what quagmire is suggesting, but I'm not sure it is.
  19. macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2011
    This is nothing more than Macrumors being cute and adding commentary.

    No where does Computerworld state "as the technology has already been copied in other mobile operating systems, such as Google's Android."

    the USPTO would be stupid to reject it saying its found in use after Apple applied for it
  20. Renzatic, Jul 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013

    macrumors G3


    I'm sure there's more to it than what we're seeing here. The only way Android could be used as prior art is if they had it before 2007. Anything that comes after the introduction of an idea can't be used to invalidate a patent.

    The three things that can kill a patent are prior art, obviousness, or registering something so specific it's the only way to achieve an end result.
  21. macrumors 6502


    Feb 14, 2012
    As far as I know anything that copies a "patent pending", if the patent is approved is considered a copy. Once the application is filled copyright does apply. That said, I still think that pinch to zoom and other functional gestures should not be patentable.
  22. macrumors 6502a


    May 7, 2011
  23. macrumors 604


    Feb 23, 2010
    But, and I think we all know this deep down.

    When a new type of product comes out.

    Car, Boat, Plane, Tablet, Knife, Mouse.....................

    There are times, and must come a time when a patent is not upheld as it is damaging to everyone on the planet, as everyone is a consumer even CEO's of companies.

    When the new device/product is invented? people will play with variations before the work out a bicycle is best with two wheels the size they are and a chain crank to the back wheel. The car does have the front wheels steering via a circular wheel, The plane would have that wing shape for lift. A tablet would be a flat sheet of glass and you would use fingers to manipulate what's on screen.

    Sure, copywrite come things, specific things, but none of us would own anything much now if Apple did what Apple tried to do now, say 100 or 200 years ago
  24. macrumors 65816

    Dec 20, 2011
    I just patented breathing in (breathing out was sadly already taken, but we worked something out so I'm not in violation).

    Now to the ugliness. You are in violation of my patent. As are you, and you, and that guy, and that hot chick... totally gonna sue her, and that kid, and...

    When you patent (or try to patent) something that is silly and ubiquitous (like pinching, or rounded corners, or sliding to unlock... I'd even say bonceback), you are BEGGING to be violated if your product becomes popular. In fact, if you think it will, the smart thing to do IS to patent every silly thing you can think of, then sick your lawyer on whomever dare copy it.

    I love my Apple stuff. But the patents they have are seemingly almost entirely for the purpose of lawsuits. That's fine by me (I'm an attorney), but I still think it's ridiculous.

    USPTO got this one right. Can't patent something already commonplace just because you think someone might copy you if you make it popular first. If Samsung made a tablet before Apple it would have been a disaster, but it probably would have still had rounded courners and pinch to zoom...

    Just wouldn't have sold at all :D
  25. B4U, Jul 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013

    macrumors 6502


    Oct 11, 2012
    Pinch to zoom is not at all natural when comparing to flipping pages or even breathing. The argument of breathing is totally childish.
    I can use books as an example for flipping pages with a real object.
    Name one real world object that zooms in when you pinch it.
    (Except your loved ones' cheeks. I was reminded last night...LOL)
    If it was never applied before and makes all the sense now, maybe they should make it a FRAND patent.

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