Apple (AAPL): Pinch-to-Zoom Technology Claims Rejected by USPTO

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [USPTO] on Wednesday rejected a key patent at issue in Apple (AAPL) Inc.’s recent lawsuit against Samsung that ended in August with a jury ordering the South Korean electronics giant to pay Cupertino $1.05 billion in damages for illegally copying six of seven Apple patents.

Citing older patents and published documents, the USPTO found that Apple’s “pinch-to-zoom” technology claim innovations weren’t original enough to merit a patent.

News of the latest development prompted Samsung to provide US District Judge Lucy Koh a copy of the patent office’s decision, that upon review, determined that Apple’s innovative claims related to the ‘pinch-to-zoom’ technology which allows consumers to use their fingers directly on a screen to enlarge or minimize photos, text or maps on smartphones and tablets, were “unpatentable.”

Samsung – the world’s top mobile and smartphone maker – hopes the filing in a federal court in San Jose, California would reinforce its argument for a new trial or to have the damages award a jury said it should pay last August, considerably reduced.

Apple form its part is pressing for the sum to be increased.

Samsung and Apple, the world’s top two smartphone makers, are locked in patent disputes in at least 10 countries as they continue to clash over the intellectual property behind the $219 billion smartphone market.

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