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US Patent Office Invalidates Apple's "Rubber Banding" Patent 213

Posted by timothy
from the kill-software-patents dept.
bhagwad writes "The patent that was the cause of so much grief to Samsung in the recently concluded trial with Apple has been tentatively invalidated by the USPTO. The challenge was filed anonymously, but it obviously could have been filed by any smartphone manufacturer. Will this have an effect on further proceedings in the case or perhaps more importantly on the inevitable appeal?"
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US Patent Office Invalidates Apple's "Rubber Banding" Patent

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  • Re:What is it about? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vicarius (1093097) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:17AM (#41741437)

    What does the patented "Rubber Banding" do...

    Rubber banding happens, when you try to scroll past the content, your screen will scroll a little beyond the content and then bounce back. This gives the user a visual feedback that device is responding to the input (trying to scroll) and that device is not frozen; thus, making the experience less frustrating.

  • Re:What is it about? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ToastedRhino (2015614) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:36AM (#41741737)

    You're describing pull to refresh, not rubber banding. It's a different, but I would agree somewhat related, idea than the rubber band effect, and Twitter actually owns the pull to refresh patent, not Apple.

    Rubber banding is when you get to the end of a scroll view, the view continues to scroll a bit past where it's supposed to while showing a generic background (it's now the grey linen on iOS, can't remember what it used to be), then bounces back to the top of the screen. This provides a visual indicator that you've reached the end of the scrollable area.

    I won't argue that this should be a patentable idea, but if it were only "eye candy" and not functional in some way every other smart phone maker wouldn't be trying to/have already implemented (and removed for fear of litigation in the case of Android) it.

  • Re:Hate it (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bobfrankly1 (1043848) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:57AM (#41742013)

    Doesn't the fact that the content doesn't scroll at all (i.e., that there is no rubber banding effect) provide the exact same information?

    Not really. I've had scrollable content not scroll at all because the iOS was stalled out thinking. Then I've had content that looked like it was supposed to scroll but gave no feedback. Made me wonder if the iOS was stalled out again or if it really wasn't scrollable. At least the MacOS has the beachball on the cursor to let you know when the OS is stuck on itself.

    You'd still have to make an "impotent attempt to scroll" to see the rubber band effect so it really doesn't save any steps, and iOS is generally responsive enough that if it doesn't scroll when you try you know that that's on purpose and not the OS lagging behind input.

    The "generally" being in your experience, not in mine nor my associates.

  • Prior Art from Apple (Score:4, Informative)

    by mkraft (200694) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:58AM (#41742021)

    What the linked article doesn't mention, but this one does [arstechnica.com] is that one of the prior art patents that invalidates the "rubber band" patent is owned by the same Apple employee that owns the "rubber band" patent.

  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zordak (123132) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:04PM (#41742943) Homepage Journal

    Signs of life from the USPTO

    This rejection means nothing. Something like 90% of first office actions are rejections. That's just how the USPTO does business, and it's how they've done business for a long time. Even a "final" rejection isn't final. It just means you have to pay more money to keep arguing with the examiner. And you can keep doing that for as long as you're willing to continue paying the fee to go "one more round."

    This is a very run-of-the-mill rejection. The court will probably just ignore it. Until the patent is for-real-finally rejected by the patent office (meaning it's been more than six months since the examiner issued an office action and Apple hasn't responded), the patent is strongly presumed to be valid.

    This ends the educational portion of today's episode of Slashdot. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled trolling, flame-baiting, karma-whoring, and Microsoft-bashing.

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