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Android GUI Input Devices Iphone Patents The Courts Apple

Apple's Pinch+Zoom Patent Invalidated By Preliminary USPTO Ruling 149

Posted by timothy
from the always-more-complicated dept.
skade88 writes "Apple has lost its patent on Pinch+Zoom. This is the patent that won Apple their billion dollar verdict against Samsung. GrokLaw has an article, too." The ruling is only preliminary, though, not final.
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Apple's Pinch+Zoom Patent Invalidated By Preliminary USPTO Ruling

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  • Refund? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:16PM (#42353141)

    So does that mean they owe a refund to Samsung? (I am a legal newbie)

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:18PM (#42353161) Journal

    This is the patent that won Apple their billion dollar verdict against Samsung.

    That's weird, I remember the jury verdict citing six patents [businessinsider.com]. Pinch to zoom was one of them but surely it was only a fraction of the full billion?

  • by hermitdev (2792385) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:27PM (#42353247)

    So here's a question. Does Samsung get any of its money back? I mean the money it spent and is spending to invalidate this stupid patent? The money it spent on trial over this stupid patent? The money it spent finding the prior art that Apple should have found before filing for this stupid patent? No. Nothing in US patent system is that fair.

    I'm not a lawyer, but maybe there's one out there that could answer: couldn't Samsung counter-sue, or the Judge rule in favor of Samsung and order court fees paid? And presumably, wouldn't all expenditures, including any involved with the research and gathering of information in regards to prior art, be covered?

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:30PM (#42353275) Homepage Journal

    I really wish I could mod this down as it is an attack from a corporate sycophant. We are talking about so-called "successful" corporations using a mechanism to keep other corporations and individuals from being successful. That's the real problem here.

    And, again, I think the FOSS community needs to form a foundation to get bad patents invalidated so we can have a decent system again.

  • Re:Refund? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:36PM (#42353339)

    I think that would be reasonable. If you get a patent invalidated you should be forced to repay all money you have gained from it, or even double that money or something. Maybe that would stop companies from filing piss-patents.

  • by detain (687995) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:45PM (#42353395) Homepage
    The biggest problem with the patent system is that most people aren't aware of the problems with it. General public awareness of the problems in the patent system is a good step towards eventual patent reform. It takes a big case like this with lots of news coverage about products many of us use to motivate the general public. Change is never fast or easy but as long as the majority of people think that patent reform is needed, it should eventually happen.
  • Re:Sick of this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by terec (2797475) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:53PM (#42353477)
    "The industry" was working together just fine; there weren't actually that many lawsuits between companies like Palm, Nokia, and Microsoft. Apple, however, came in as a newbie, took everybody else's ideas, put them in a nice shiny box, and started patenting and suing everybody.
  • Re:Refund? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by colin_faber (1083673) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:56PM (#42353505)
    This is actually an interesting thought, though I wouldn't go so far as to attach punitive damages to invalided patent, I see nothing wrong with charging a minimal interest rate on the monies paid as royalty fees on the patent.
  • Re:prior art (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Solandri (704621) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:59PM (#42353533)
    Here's pinch to zoom in 1988 [youtube.com].
  • The claims were rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 based on U.S. Patent No. 7,724,242 to Hillis et al. (“Hillis”), International Pub. No. WO 03/081458 to Lira (“Lira”), U.S. Patent No. 6,757,673 to Makus et al. (“Makus”), Japanese Pub. No. 2000-163031A to Nomura et al. (English translation) (“Nomura”), and Dean Harris Rubine, “The Automatic Recognition of Gestures,” CMU-CS-91-202, December 1991 (“Rubine”).

    As near as I can find, it doesn't look like Samsung raised any of these references during the trial to show the patents were invalid. Why not?

    Additionally, Groklaw says:

    The goofball jury, of course, thought it was a simply wonderful patent infringed every which way by Samsung...
    Here's the verdict [PDF] form the jury signed off on after a nonchalant few hours of deliberations, which apparently did not include spending effort on whether or not this was a valid patent.
    The most important part of this news isn't that the jury's work was a farce.

    Wasn't Groklaw complaining just a few days ago that the jury foreman brought in external evidence, and therefore committed misconduct? And now, Groklaw is saying the jury should have conducted its own prior art search and brought in external evidence that wasn't raised by Samsung? What is it, the rules don't apply if it hurts Apple?

  • Re:Sick of this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:10PM (#42353629)

    No. The system has always been equally broken before, but it's a select few companies (Apple, Microsoft, Oracle) which have found it more profitable to compete in the market place. You don't see Samsung or HTC or Google trying to crush competition with lawsuits in the way that the above-named companies do.

    Just because the law says it's okay to be a jerk doesn't mean it's okay when you actually do it.

  • Re:Refund? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by backslashdot (95548) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:29PM (#42353753)

    I would .. F it .. Too many people are willfully or negligently filing patents on stuff they didn't invent or are obvious increments to existing technology. There has to be something to discourage it.

  • Re:Refund? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:35PM (#42353805)

    Samsung has paid a ton of money directly and through damage to reputation defending themselves.

    Effective anti-patent troll reform would make patent holder, if loser, pay some factor say 10 x (costs to defend + what they were asking as damages to the party they were suing + lost sales + etc.).

    Of course, Apple has lost much of the tech segment as customers due to their trolling, but that is a tiny bit of their income. Getting spanked for $10-50 Billion once or twice would make them re-think their troll strategy-- if it didn't change minds of board members / C execs, the shareholders would revolt to the same effect.

  • Re:Sick of this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:43PM (#42353895) Homepage Journal


    The system has always been equally broken before

    Agreed.

    but it's a select few companies ...

    Who have finally taken full advantage of all the abuse the system provides for. We need to recognize that the system is inherently broken and needs to be abolished and/or replaced. And only replaced if there's some way to show that the replacement won't have detrimental unintended consequences.

    Just because the law says it's okay to be a jerk doesn't mean it's okay when you actually do it.

    And there are many ways to be a jerk, even on societal levels. Interesting chart here [theatlantic.com] that completely invalidates the idea that copyright promotes the arts. Same with patents for the useful sciences.

    If the Internet has taught us one thing, it's that very few ideas are actually unique. The patent system has just become a race to see who has the most and fastest lawyers who can file a patent for as many ideas as can be floated, ability or intent to implement be damned. Execution is what really matters now when it comes to advancing technology and nobody needs to make up imaginary property rights for a good management team to succeed.

    But IP does maximize profits for certain corporations, created by the government, feeding money (and by extension power) back to the same government players. That's what we call a positive feedback loop. If there's a silver lining, positive feedback loops cause instability and usually lead to collapse, ending the cycle. Unfortunately, those collapses often damage everything around them when they let go.

  • Re:Sick of this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Blue Stone (582566) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:45PM (#42353921) Homepage Journal

    >"The industry" was working together just fine; there weren't actually that many lawsuits between companies like Palm, Nokia, and Microsoft. Apple, however, came in as a newbie, took everybody else's ideas, put them in a nice shiny box, and started patenting and suing everybody.

    Hell, Apple are not even unique in that respect.

    When Marconi got a patent on wireless telegraphy in England, the rule was that you MUST NOT reveal the workings of the patented device before the patent was granted. Marconi presented a closed box, which worked as described and got his patent. Then they opened the box and found that it was just someone elses' method that was already publicly known. Nothing unique at all.

    Then he laughed all the way to the bank.

    Steve Jobs, in many ways was just the Marconi of his day. Not even unique in being a bit of a carpetbagger.

  • Re:Sick of this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @07:12PM (#42354155) Homepage

    Many Apple fans rejoiced. There was a lot of "in your face" and "got what they deserved" in response to the rulings followed by desperate attempts to justify a dishonest juror and the major crap he pulled. He "sent a message" alright. Problem is, just like other 'bad guys' he was stupid enough to brag about it. Had he said "it was a tough decision, but I felt the evidence was in Apple's favor and the other jurors agreed" things might be a little different right now.

    But let's say the judge in this case was shown to have a LOT of Apple stock. Her failure to recuse herself would result in another trial even after the verdict was presented. But this was a juror. Jurors need special treatment in nearly every case simply because it's hard enough to select and agree upon the constitutionally guaranteed jury for matters such as these. If they were not almost completely immune to charges of misconduct, people would be even LESS willing to be on the jury. So you have to understand that the system will tread lightly on matters such as these. But have a look at this if you want to know more about jury misconduct:

    http://www.capdefnet.org/hat/contents/constitutional_issues/jury_misconduct/jury_misconduct.htm [capdefnet.org]

    Interestingly, dishonesty in voir dire is at the top of the list and yet somehow, the judge in this case is willing to ignore that.

    And you make a good point. After the trial, there was a spike in GS3 sales. Where I work, a LOT of iPhone users have managed to switch over to GS3 or other Androids... one of my co-workers, much to my disgust, even bought multiple Nexus 4s so he could make disgusting profits. People like him are the reason why many of us couldn't get one the first time around. "Thanks asshole" but I wasn't stupid enough to buy one from these pirates.

    My point is that android is really taking over and Apple iThing fans are changing hearts. I see it everywhere. I know... I'm not a good sample observer. But it would be interesting to see what the current usage trends are. Anyone know where to look for data on the subject?

  • Re:Sick of this (Score:1, Interesting)

    by ojak (1857004) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @07:24PM (#42354303)

    Um... I'm no fan of all the lawsuits, patents, etc, but honestly, does anybody actually remember what cell phones were like before the iPhone came out? They were just awful. I built a catapult for my Motorola Q just so I could launch it off my roof.

    I'm no fan of Apple's lawsuits, but I also can admit that they did move the ball forward by leaps and bounds beyond the plastic pieces of shit we were all messing with in 2006.

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