Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) received a minor setback today when the US Patent and Trademark Office rejected their ‘pinch to zoom’ patent.

apple pinch to zoom

The New York Times reported that this particular patent, which was named ‘915 Patent, was rejected on all claims. Samsung originally publicized the filing that was made Wednesday. It’s this patent that includes the use of a single finger scrolling and two finger zooming features. Last summer, the jury found Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) of violating this patent among many others. The Samsung devices that violated this particular patent included Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Exhibit 4G, Fascinate, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S, Galaxy S 4G, AT&T’s Galaxy S II, the international Galaxy S II, Galaxy Tab, the Wi-Fi Galaxy Tab 10.1, Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Mesmerize, Nexus S 4G, and Vibrant.

The Verge offered better details regarding the patent:

[it] specifically covers a programming interface which detects if one finger on a screen is scrolling or two or more fingers are doing something else. It is one possible step along the road to pinch-to-zoom, but it is definitely not pinch-to-zoom itself. And — crucially — it may not be that hard to design around. Samsung may have even done it by accident: the jury examined three of its accused phones (all of which support pinch-to-zoom) and decided they didn’t infringe.

Despite the rejection, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) can and probably will appeal this decision.

The assistant professor at the University of Nebraska’s College of Law, Christal Sheppard explained, “There may need to be a new phase of the trial to figure out what the damages are. The facts of whether they infringe or not have been found.”

Mark A. Lemley (professor at Stanford Law School) adds, “It’s a strike against Apple, but it is far from the whole ballgame.”

At press time, neither Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) nor Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) had released any comments.