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Apple scores limited pinch-to-zoom patent

updated 04:35 pm EDT, Wed October 13, 2010

May hamper efforts at competing interfaces

Apple has won a limited though significant US patent on pinch-to-zoom gestures for multi-touch devices, reports say. A filing was originally submitted in December 29th, 2006, just days before the announcement of the first iPhone at Macworld. The document technically covers more than just zoom, making references to other pinch commands such as rotation.

The patent could potentially be wielded against other companies trying to develop multi-touch interfaces. If so the scope of damage would be limited however, as the patent restrains itself to the idea of performing a second gesture within a preset timeframe. It may nevertheless represent the first rights a company has been able to claim on the pinch-to-zoom concept, now present on a large number of multi-touch products, Engadget notes.

by MacNN Staff



  1. PRoth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't understand this:

    "If so the scope of damage would be limited however, as the patent restrains itself to the idea of performing a second gesture within a preset timeframe."

    Could someone please write this in English?

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Seems like a waste of time

    Apple can't do anything about other companies ripping them off with multitouch gestures. Apple will have to find another way to hinder Android. Besides, any number of gestures could be used in place of pinch to zoom.

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 18 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this first report, we focus on one of the most important technologies that are empowering Apple's smart device revolution: Multi-Touch. Apple has been awarded three colossal multi-touch related patents. The patents cover multi-touch displays that detect the motion of two or more fingers as well as the tracking of multiple fingers and palm contacts using proximity sensors that enable unprecedented integration of typing, resting, pointing, scrolling and 3D manipulation. One of Apple's patents also makes it crystal clear that multi-touch will extend beyond the iPod, iPhone and iPad and eventually advance to devices such as the MacBook and the iMac. "

    Hope this helps.... 3 patents so far..... Not sure how Engadget thinks this is Limited in any way. Apples iPhone patents are just starting to ripple thru the patent office. Jobs said "over 200 patents"....

    Just a thought here,

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