Apple's Patent Battle Against Samsung Loses Steam

Apple's patent infringement suits against archrival Samsung Electronics are losing steam with consecutive decisions in the U.S. in favor of the Korean firm.

IT news service CNET on Thursday reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office tentatively invalidated Apple's claim that Samsung had infringed upon its "pinch-to-zoom" technology patent. The function allows a part of an image to be enlarged using the thumb and index finger. That is also one of the three Apple patents that jurors in a northern California district court ruled Samsung violated.

Following the decision by the USPTO, the court is expected to subtract the "pinch-to-zoom" portion from the compensation Samsung has to pay. Jurors in the northern California district court ruled in August that Samsung owes Apple US$1.05 billion for patent violations. Samsung appealed saying there were problems with jury's findings and calculation of the compensation. Apple also appealed, saying the compensation is too small.

Earlier, the USPTO also tentatively invalidated Apple patents causing an image on a screen to bounce or snap back when users scroll to the end of a list of data. The decision was based on the fact that similar technology existed before.

Earlier this month, the California court said jurors may have committed an error in calculating the compensation for Samsung's infringement of Apple's "tap-to-zoom" function, which allows a particular image to fill the entire screen.

The court raised the possibility of the compensation being lowered for that particular patent, but so far no changes have been made in the court's decision that Samsung infringed three of Apple's patented designs.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 21, 2012 12:05 KST

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