The US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent because prior patents covered the invention.
Samsung filed the USPTO's preliminary ruling against Apple in court on Wednesday in the US as part of its attempts to get a new trial, rather than letting Apple's $1bn win stand. The pinch-to-zoom patent is one of six patents the jury in the case decided that Sammy was infringing.
Although the patent office's decision is good for Samsung, it's not a final ruling. The full patent process involves a number of steps and even after that, the decision can be appealed in court, dragging the whole thing out for years.
Samsung has already had its claims of jury misconduct rejected by Judge Lucy Koh in its first attempt to get a new trial, but it is still trying to overturn the jury's verdict. If its efforts continue to fail, the Korean firm still has the option to appeal the decision with any new evidence.
Apple had tried to push its win to get permanent bans on certain Samsung products in the US, but Judge Koh also refused to do that, saying that the fruity firm wasn't suffering "irreparable harm" and it was clearly willing to license its patents. ®