Denied: U.S. PTO Rejects Apple Pinch-to-Zoom Patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) took a second look at Apple's "pinch-to-zoom" patent and this time decided to invalidate it. It's a preliminary ruling and Apple will undoubtedly appeal, but for now, it serves as a temporary setback in Apple's quest to sue the mobile world, and in particularly Samsung.

The ruling also opens the door to a retrial between Apple and Samsung. Apple earlier this year scored a staggering $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung for various patent infringement claims related to its Galaxy products, which it contends copy the look and feel of iPhone and iPad devices. Pinch-to-zoom was one of the patents Samsung was found guilty of infringing on.

Samsung has already filed a copy of the USPTO's decision with the court, saying it's relevant for a new trial and also to Apple's request for a permanent injunction against certain Samsung devices. However, the full process of invalidating patents requires a lot of steps and can take years to complete.