Dec 19 The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has
rejected Apple Inc's 'pinch-to-zoom' patent in a
preliminary ruling that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
argues supports its request for a new trial in the patent war
against its rival.
Apple scored a sweeping legal victory over its South Korean
competitor in August when a U.S. jury found Samsung had copied
critical features of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad and
awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.
The 'pinch-to-zoom' patent, U.S. patent no. 7,844,915, was
one of the patents contested at that trial. The jury ruled that
Samsung had infringed six of seven Apple patents.
When the U.S. patent office rules against a patent, the full
process involves multiple steps and can take years. It can also
often be appealed in court, further tying up the process.
The ruling by the U.S. patent office after Samsung requested
an examination of the patent was included in documents filed by
Samsung in a federal court in San Jose, California.
Apple's claims were rejected on the grounds that prior
patents covered the inventions.
Representatives for Apple and Samsung were not immediately
available for comment.
Samsung and Apple, the world's top two smartphone makers,
are locked in patent disputes in at least 10 countries as they
vie to dominate the lucrative mobile market and win over
customers with their latest gadgets.
In October, a Dutch court ruled that Samsung did not
infringe on Apple's patent by using certain multi-touch
techniques on some of the Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablet