Print 28 comment(s) - last by superstition.. on Oct 26 at 12:15 AM

Decision could play a crucial role in Apple v. Samsung

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) scored quite the coup when it in essence patented the animation of a naturally occurring phenomenon -- the transient response.  The company's so-called "rubber band" patent, describes multiple methods of making graphical actions over-stretch, then bounce back, say when scrolling or zooming.  Apple has used the patent to sue many of its rivals.

The patent -- U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381 -- played a key role as one of four technology patents asserted by Apple in its market-shaking $1.05B USD jury verdict against Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930).  But those happy days may be at end as the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled that it was invalid on grounds of lacking novelty and being obvious based on a pair of previous patents.

The first was a patent "Controlling Content Display" "invented" by Luigi Lira and AOL, Inc. in March of 2003.  That patent was filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as is numbered WO 03/081458 A1.  The Central Reexamination Division at the USPTO ruled that in light of Lira, the rubber band patent was too "obvious" and lacking in novelty ("anticipated by Lira").

The patent by Mr. Lira discusses a similar bounce, but with the mouse as the input, not the finger.

Ironically, one of Apple's own patents was used in the invalidation as well -- U.S. Patent No. 7,786,975 -- which covers "Continuous Scrolling With Acceleration".

Samsung has filed a copy of the invalidation with U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California's Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over its jury trial versus Apple.  In light of invalidation Samsung's Rule 50 ("overrule-the-jury") motion asks the federal judge to vacate the massive damages.

Browser App Gingerbread
Bounce on the HTC EVO 4G

Samsung is also appealing the rest of the verdict.

This may not be the end of the story, though, when it comes to the rubber band patent.  The Central Reexamination Office's ruling is non-binding -- it could reconsider it pending Apple's appeal.  Even if it does stamp it invalid, the matter then has to go to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- a court of sorts at the USPTO -- for a final ruling.  And even if the PTAB invalidates the patent, the ruling can be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

That said, invalidations often stick, and the preliminary ruling has the potential to already mar Apple's greatest verdict against Android.

In a statement to The New York Times, Android operating system-maker Google Inc. (GOOG) gloated, "The patent office plays a critical role in ensuring that overly broad patents cannot be used to limit consumer choice. We appreciate the care the patent office has taken in re-examining dubious software claims."

Sources: Scrib, NY Times

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Rubber Band Dysphemism
By rdhood on 10/24/2012 5:34:34 PM , Rating: 3
It would also mean every developer needs to seek out the existing patents on all types of animations to be sure they are not infringing, lest they be sued.

Bingo. THAT is the really nasty part. I write software all day, every day. I never consider that someone else may have patented some thing that I just created or wrote. Yet, the patent office is so full of junk patents, I probably violate someone's patent everyday. How are SW engineers supposed to memorize and keep up-to-date on every software patent ever written?

On/about 1999, I built a back-to-back server system where the "outer" system talks to the internet, and communicates to the backend system via a pass-through SSL connection. A few years later, I learned that IBM had a patent on that idea... patented AFTER I built our company's system.

The thing is, the idea is so freaking obvious it boggles the mind. You want to keep people out of your intranet, yet you want to pass SSL credentials through from the internet to your intranet. So you set up one system to communicate with the internet, one to communicate with the intranet, and a piece of software to securely communicate between them.

In another case, our customers need to know all the steps my software goes through to perform certain financial transactions. The obvious answer is to log the steps for this process! The amazing thing is that someone has already patented the idea of logging steps to perform this process!

This is just two cases where, in a vacuum, I have created two OBVIOUS programs/systems to handle a situation, and later discovered that I was in violation of someone's patent... one of which I could show prior "art".

The patent system is broken.

RE: Rubber Band Dysphemism
By topkill on 10/24/2012 9:56:14 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry to hear that we patented that on you. I wrote some of IBM's early TCP/IP stacks and also the netbios over IP code. But I can say that we NEVER pursued those patents aggressively and only used them for defensive purposes and patent trades with others when they came after us.

I was actually running that division for IBM during the period you're talking about and I would imagine either Blakley, Stokes, Hemsath or Milman (or some combo of the above) had their names on the patent your talking about???

RE: Rubber Band Dysphemism
By Any14Tee on 10/25/2012 9:02:36 AM , Rating: 2
Thats good stuff rdhood & topkill, we're getting a real discussion on the problem. So refreshing, no trolling.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

Latest Headlines
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
The Samsung Galaxy S7
September 14, 2016, 6:00 AM
Apple Watch 2 – Coming September 7th
September 3, 2016, 6:30 AM
Apple says “See you on the 7th.”
September 1, 2016, 6:30 AM

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki