Will the retrial on damages between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung be over before it is even finished? Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) has asked the judge in the case to halt the trial because a ruling from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office suggests that the verdict from this trial won’t end up being valid.

Apple patent called into question

The retrial that’s going on right now deals with how much damages Samsung will have to pay Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for infringing upon its patents. A judge decided that the damages were miscalculated the last time around, so we get to do it all over again. How fun. And now we could have yet another delay in this case.

The retrial has stretched out for more than a week now and is currently in the jury deliberation phase. Shara Tibken of CNET reports that Samsung wants it halted because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has questioned whether one of Apple’s patents is valid. The patent deals with the pinch-to-zoom feature and focuses on technology which is able to tell the difference between a single finger scrolling on a touch screen and multiple fingers touching the screen for pinch-to-zoom.

Patent office disagrees with Apple

Apparently the USPTO has been looking at the claims from that particular patent, and the agency asked Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) some questions in reference to it. The company responded with the answers, but in a document filed today, the USPTO said it doesn’t agree with the claims made by Apple and that its arguments aren’t “persuasive.”

At this point these comments do not yet invalidate Apple’s patent. However, the company will have to offer even more information and additional arguments about why the patent is valid. Samsung filed an emergency motion to stay the trial pending the outcome of the USPTO’s decision. The Korean electronics company said Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) decided not to separate the damages among the different patents in the case. As a result, they said we won’t know how much of the awarded damages are due to the pinch-to-zoom patent. If that patent is invalidated, it would have an effect on the amount of the damages Samsung would have to pay.

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