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U.S. Patent Office Rejects Apple's Critical "Pinch To Zoom" Patent

The gesture patent that Apple used in its billion-dollar courtroom battle with Samsung has been ruled invalid.

U.S. patent number 7,844,915 has, in a preliminary ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, been invalidated. The USPTO has decided that on investigation parts of the patent (which relates to iOS's most famous "pinch to zoom" multitouch gesture) were in fact contained within earlier patents. Thus Apple's patent is rendered invalid due to prior art.

This particular patent was one of the key pieces of intellectual property, of a total of six, that were at the core of the big Apple-Samsung lawsuit this year. The court ruled that Samsung was in violation of Apple's IP on these patents, and a controversial damage figure of $1 billion was decided upon. Samsung has been pressing for a retrial, recently being denied on what it says were juror problems, and is using this latest ruling to push for a reversal or material reduction in the damages fee.

How do you think the great tech war of 2012 will play out in 2013? Do you wish it were over already?