Touchscreen smartphones is all we see around us today which is how far we’ve come in the field of technology. And one of the vital feature of modern day touchscreen mobile phones is pinch to zoom. Well, pinch to zoom is used almost everywhere right from images to text content, the feature is basically a more refined and convenient way to zoom into things/objects displayed on the screen. However, due to some reason Apple was awarded the patent for this particular feature. And quite frankly, it was the first company to bring this feature to the fore with the iPhone back in 2007. As expected, this feature became associated with the iPhone and manufacturers became growingly cautious about implementing this feature on their respective devices, including plenty of Android OEMs. Today, we see pinch-to-zoom basically used in every other smartphone and that includes Windows Phone.
However, the USPTO has now given Apple a major setback by mentioning that the pinch-to-zoom patent also known as patent 7,844,915, is invalid. This basically means that all of Apple’s claims of patent infringement with regards to the pinch-to-zoom feature have been falsified. This will be a major reprieve for Samsung as this was included in the recently concluded patent trial where Samsung was ordered to pay Apple a hefty sum of $1.05 billion. USPTO previously deemed Apple’s bounce scrolling patent invalid. Most of the Cupertino giant’s patent infringement claims against Android manufacturers have involved pinch to zoom
It will be interesting to see how Apple and Samsung will react to this new development. Samsung could look to seek a decrease in the damages which it is liable to pay Apple. The re-examination of the patent made the USPTO realize that patents already existed for that. Companies like HTC announced a truce with Apple over many of its lawsuits, but it was Samsung which stood up firm against Apple and refused to budge.
The court recently filed a ruling in favor of Samsung, by declining Apple’s request to ban certain infringing Samsung products. It also gave a setback to Samsung by denying a fresh trial with regards to the alleged foul play by jury foreman Vel Hogan. It seems like Samsung has a lot less to worry about now as Apple is not having a good time in the courtrooms. It has ongoing trials against a few other Samsung devices like the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II among others. So it has to be seen how this will affect the outcome of those trials. Similarly, Samsung has filed patent suits against the iPhone 4S and recently the iPhone 5, so this could potentially be a very lengthy trial. It is now clear that Apple no longer holds patents for pinch to zoom. Not that it stopped manufacturers from using the feature in the past.