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.