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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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  • Hate it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StripedCow (776465) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:05PM (#41741255)

    The annoying thing about it is, rubber banding works sometimes, but not always.
    The rule seems to be that rubber banding is activated only when the display contains scrollable content.
    They should make it behave the same way, regardless of whether the content is scrollable.
    Geez... it really gets me irritated, such basic UI concept and they can't even get it right.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:18PM (#41741451)

    Look in HCI this stuff has been done since forever. Academics got really interested in touch technologies in the early 2000s. They've been used spring decay to make "nicer" and more natural interfaces ever since.

    Many patents out there are IP theft. They are stealing from public institutions and patenting technology that has been developed in academia.

  • Re:Hate it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperMooCow (2739821) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:22PM (#41741527)

    I think what he's saying is that if there was a rubber band effect, it would confirm that the device accepted his scrolling command but also show him that it's not supposed to scroll.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:44PM (#41741839) Journal

    But isn't that the ideal way to run government? Like a business? Instead of stealing our hard-earned money?

    There are arguments to be made in favor of running certain aspects of government like a business(if our national parks got to set ticket prices according to actual demand, they'd have a lot less trouble with understaffing and overcrowding...); but there are some issues to watch out for:

    1. If you are a business, you have 'customers' and you are beholden(sooner or later) to provide 'customer service'. Be very careful that your 'customers' are the same people that it is your mission to serve and that 'customer service' is the same product that it is your mission to provide. This is a particular problem with government departments that have regulatory functions. In terms of day-to-day interaction, shared professional backgrounds and skill sets, etc. the 'customer' is usually the party who needs to be kept in line; but the mission of the department is the protection of the public(who should be the 'customer'; but who the regulators rarely interact with). In the case of the USPTO, the de-facto 'customer' ends up being the patent applicant, not the vague, voiceless, largely inchoate mass of 'people who don't want inefficiencies introduced by bad patents'. It's natural enough, and likely to progress even faster if the entity is overwhelmed by its caseload, or if there is a revolving door between USPTO examiners and corporate patent attorneys(which, even in the absence of corruption of any kind, the fact that similar skills are required by both jobs tends to mean will happen to some degree).

    (To end on a positive note) The institution of 'Agricultural extension programs', typically associated(in the US) with the research programmes and faculty experts at local Land-Grant Colleges and Universities that operates reasonably successfully as a sort of 'like a business; but in a broad sense' program. Their objective is the improvement of agricultural standards and outcomes in their area, through consultation and expertise on local conditions, pests, etc. along with research made possible in part through access to the data gathered by working with the agricultural population at large, and often offering certain soil testing, analytical, and pest identification services at accessible prices. These aren't "like a business" in the sense that they are run for-profit, and they do have a basic research, R&D, and educational mission; but they are operated as an essentially pragmatic, productivity and profit improving, adjunct to private agriculture in their region.

  • by DeadCatX2 (950953) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:25PM (#41742459) Journal

    Chances are that it was rejected the first time. And the second time. And the third time...

    You see, when Apple doesn't get a patent approved, they just change a few words and keep trying. Take for example the '604 patent. It was rejected twice in 2007, three times in 2008, once in 2009, twice in 2010 and once in 2011. (source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/technology/patent-wars-among-tech-giants-can-stifle-competition.html?_r=0&pagewanted=all [nytimes.com] )

    Finally it got approved (tenth time is the charm!).

  • Re:About time.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gutnor (872759) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:26PM (#41743249)

    Yes and No. Selectively discarding a single one in one side of such important case is only confirming to Companies fill thousands of shitty patent every years, that it is a valid strategy, because they get invalidated only in the most extreme condition, and not even consistently.

    Something good would have been for the USPTO to re-evaluate the whole patent portfolio of both Samsung and Apple and invalidate all the obvious one, regardless if they were cited in a lawsuit or not. THAT would have scared patent trolls and other silly patent hoarder (i.e. all the big companies).

  • Re:Finally (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shugah (881805) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:56PM (#41743617)
    By refusing to negotiate and pursuing a litigation strategy on the FRAND patents, Apple is leaving themselves open to a far more damaging counter offensive. On the core telecom patents that define the 3G and 4G (LTE) wireless network standards, Samsung is a middle weight contributor of IP. The heavyweights of the LTE IP are LG, Qualcomm, Intel (via InterDigital), Motorola (Google) and Nokia. Additional core telecom IP portfolios are held by Ericsson, RIM, Huawei Corp and HTC.

    Qualcomm, Ericsson, RIM, Intel, Huawei and Nokia are unlikely to join any IP counter offensive against Apple because they don't sell smartphone handsets, license technology to both sides or benefit from suppressing Android (Nokia/RIM). But LG, Motorola (Google) and HTC have a vested interest in defending Android and between them have substantial IP portfolios. It's important to note that these companies can not refuse to license their Standard Essential Patents, however Apple has so far refused to negotiate and has pursued a litigation strategy. Apple is not totally without ammunition in the telcomm patents; they were part of the coalition that purchased Nortel's IP, but most of the Nortel portfolio was already cross licensed to other standards contributors so are more useful for defensive purposes. Cross license agreements do not however protect Apple from having to negotiate FRAND license fees with the appropriate patent holders. If they refuse to negotiate, injunctions are in the future.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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