Apple Awarded Patent on ‘Pinch-to-Zoom’ for Multitouch Displays, Patent Comes with Limitations

Written By Sam on 14 October 2010

Apple has just been awarded a patent on the pinch-to-zoom, or rather pinching to zoom, for multi touch displays. However, the patent is not as exhaustive as Apple might have preferred as there are some specific limitations on what Apple has been granted. The patent which had been applied for on December 29, 2006, is limited and covers a very specific set of actions rather than being an over-reaching one.

To get a better grasp on how the mechanism falls into play, following are the set of actions that have been granted:

  • The prerequisite – a multi touch display that detects at least two contacts
  • A first gesture is performed by the two contact
  • The gesture then adjusts the image in some way. It could magnify, rotate or change the orientation and any other adjustment that may be made.
  • At this point, the first set of contacts is broken
  • A second set of contacts is then detected
  • This second contact performs another adjustment gesture which must be within a pre-determined period of time
  • And the gesture continues to adjust the image in the same way.

It is important to note that, Apple has not been granted a patent in ‘pinch- to-zoom’ per say, but rather a patent in “pinching to zoom and then pinching to zoom again within a set amount of time’. However, the fixed period of time is yet unknown though it is the basic premise of the patent and will have to be measured somehow. Hence the applicability of the patent is only if there is clock running according to which the second gesture takes place.

However, the fact that it is the first granted patent on any gesture in this regard, it is only an added asset to Apple. Apple has also been granted 17 other patents in addition to the above, including two more related to multitouch.

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