Patent office changes mind about crucial Apple patent

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Patent office changes mind about crucial Apple patent

The US Patent and Trademark Office has reviewed one of the Apple patents that led to a $1.05 billion ruling against Samsung – and decided that it isn’t valid after all.

The so-called ‘rubber-banding’ patent, which makes the page ‘bounce’ back when a finger’s finished scrolling down the screen, was one of a half-dozen at issue during the case.

But, through a long-standing system for re-examining granted patents, the USPTO has decided to rescind it on the grounds that the feature lacked novelty. The decision – if it’s not successfully challenged by Apple – could possibly force a review of the $1.05 billion Samsung’s been ordered to pay.

It’s the right decision, says patent expert Florian Mueller, who first spotted the USPTO notice.

“It’s not surprising that the ‘381 patent faces a serious challenge to its validity. I’ve said in a report on a Munich trial that it’s a great achievement in the realm of use interface psychology, but in a strictly technological sense it has extremely little merit, if any,” he says.

“It doesn’t take rocket science to make it work. Technically it’s just about drawing rectangles.”

Because there were a number of other patents involved in the court case, this move doesn’t invalidate the whole ruling. It does, though, give Samsung another opportunity to fight – and, indeed, it’s already alerted judge Lucy Koh to the invalidation of the patent. There’s now the possibility of a whole series of reconsiderations and appeals.  

The USPTO’s re-examination is here.

 

Author