After obtaining the trademark for "There's an App for That," and managing to also figure out a way to censor filthy text messages, it looks like Apple is on a bit of a winning streak for the moment. (Which will probably only get better on October 20th.) Revealed today, Apple has just been awarded a limited patent on pinch-to-zoom for multitouch displays, but it's not as exhaustive as Apple probably would have liked. There are some limitations, and as it usually does, it comes down to the language found within the awarded patent.
According to the patent office, patent #7,812,826 was first applied for on December 29th, 2006, and apparently the specifics of the patent have been drastically narrowed over the years. The result, is that the patent now covers a specific set of actions, instead of being an over-reaching patent that would certainly put a kink in the competitor's now seemingly standard feature. More specifically, it looks like Apple has achieved a patent on pinching-to-zoom, and then pinching-to-zoom again within a set amount of time.
That fixed period of time isn't known yet, but the patent is based on that scenario, so the time has to be measured some how, some way. The patent, now awarded, is apparently effective dating back to the end of December, 2005, which obviously pre-dates any multitouch devices or products with a multitouch display were available in the market. It's indeed a very interesting step for Apple, so it will be interesting to see what Apple does, if anything.