Samsung Creates a New Function to Compete With Apple’s Pinch-to-Zoom Patent

By Joseph Mandour on March 14, 2014

touching screen on tablet-pc Los Angeles – A recent patent filed by Samsung looks to get around Apple’s patented pinch-to-zoom technology, which has been a source of major contention between the two tech powerhouses for years.  The issue goes back to before Apple was famously awarded $1 billion in patent infringement damages in 2012.  Though that award was eventually reduced to hundreds of millions, one of the major hot buttons in the litigation surrounded the pinch-to-zoom technology.  The presiding judge found that Samsung had infringed Apple’s pinch-to-zoom patent, dubbed the ‘ 915 patent, in over 20 of its devices.

After years of back and forth and later accusations by Samsung that the ‘915 patent was invalid and that there had thus been no infringement in the first place, the Korean-based Apple rival seems to have finally come up with a viable alternative to the pinch-to-zoom technology.   The new function would be compatible on all Samsung touch screen devices and would work with a stylus or human finger.  According to the patent, which was published last week, users would touch a finger to the device and move it in a small circular clockwise motion to zoom on an object.  Conversely to zoom out, they would perform the same operation, but in a counter-clockwise direction.

This technology differentiates from Apple’s foundation pinch-to-zoom technology, whereby users perform a pinching motion to zoom in and spread their fingers from close to further apart to zoom out.  Since this has become the standard gesture for zooming on mobile devices, partially due to several Samsung devices which employ the same technology (and were the subject of the landmark patent infringement loss suffered by Samsung), it is unclear how users will react.

Since the huge judgment was handed down in 2012, Samsung has been working feverishly to come up with something that effectively competes with Apple’s function while still remaining  different enough so as not to infringe.   For now, however, at least some are not impressed with Samsung’s pinch-to-zoom alternative, pointing out that it seems more like a gesture one would make to rotate an object rather than to zoom in or out on it.

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