Apple's 'Rubber Banding' Patent Key to Samsung Lawsuit Preliminarily Invalidated
FOSS Patents reports on a new court filing from Samsung revealing that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a preliminary decision ruling that Apple's "rubber banding" patent that was a key part of the $1 billion lawsuit against Samsung has been invalidated. While numerous other reviews and appeals will undoubtedly take place in the coming months, the preliminary ruling is certainly a blow to Apple's cases against Samsung and others.
In a non-final Office action the USPTO has declared all 20 claims of Apple's rubber-banding patent (U.S. Patent No, 7,469,381 invalid, including claim 19, which Apple successfully asserted against Samsung in the summer trial in California. In fact, claim 19 is one of several claims to be deemed invalid for two reasons, either one of which would be sufficient on its own.
The report notes that the rejection could influence Judge Lucy Koh to at least partially rule in favor of Samsung's requests that the jury's verdict be overturned by the court as having been improperly issued.
The patent rejection comes after an anonymous third party challenged the validity of the patent earlier this year, requesting a reexamination by the patent office. The rubber banding patent covers the ability for iOS content to "bounce back" when a user has scrolled to the top or bottom of a given page. The feature provides an aesthetically pleasing means of alerting the user that they have reached the end of the content rather than simply stopping abruptly, but the USPTO has now ruled that the feature does not qualify as novel in light of prior art on the matter. That prior art includes not only a European patent from AOL but also a previous Apple patent.