A big piece in the patent war between Apple and Samsung has now been rejected by the USPTO: the pinch-to-zoom tactile movement patent has been rejected.
Samsung has scored a big point in the patent war against Apple by getting one of the six patents previously registered with the USPTO deregistered. This patent was part of the law suit that Samsung lost in July, costing them a fine of more than 1 billion dollars.
This is also an emblematic patent as it is the "pinch-to-zoom", the tactile movement with two fingers to zoom on a photo or document which Apple has demonstrated on numerous occasions. Following Samsung’s request, the USPTO has re-examined patent US 7 844 915 and ruled it invalid due to older patents already covering this invention. The notion of "prior art", which Samsung already tried claiming when accused of copying Apple’s designs, has managed to work in this case.
Samsung therefore has additional information to submit to Judge Lucy Koh which could help in their request for a re-trial, with the group believing that they didn’t receive a fair hearing in July.
There is still a long way to go to get the decision previously granted in Apple’s favour overturned. This is the second positive decision for Samsung though, following the rejection of a request to have sales of their handsets blocked in the United States.