U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Invalidates Apple’s ‘Rubber Banding’ Patent Used In Victory Over Samsung

Well it appears the drama between Apple and Samsung has certainly becoming more intriguing.

According to a new report from FOSS Patents - a court filing from Samsung has revealed 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. Certainly numerous follow up reviews and appeals are going to take place in the coming months, however, this preliminary ruling is certainly a blow to Apple’s cases against Samsung.

As stated in the report, this 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. Judge Koh could be persuaded to grant Samsung’s Rule 50 (“overrule-the-jury”) motion, however, the reversal of the jury’s verdict will remain a challenge Samsung needs to continue working toward, but this is a step in the right direction. Neverthless, if Judge Koh is hesitant to overrule the jury and skeptical of a non-final action, the reexamination process will continue during the Federal Circuit appellate proceedings. More importantly, if findings concerning claim 19 are affirmed in subsequent Office actions, they will carry more weight and could drive change and ultimately affect the outcome of Apple’s previous win.

The USPTO’s review has determined that some of the claims in Apple’s filing are “anticipated.” Other claims, the office says, are “obvious.” The issue for Apple is that “anticipated” and “obvious” indicate that the company’s technology is a logical step in improvement, and not a true invention that supersedes previous technologies.

According to FOSS Patents:

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 patent rejection comes after an anonymous third party challenged the validity of the patent earlier this year, requesting a reexamination by the patent office. U.S. Patent reform has been a major focus and concern for the tech industry over the last several years as it has been viewed as a detractor to innovation and design. The specific rubber banding patent covers Apple’s iOS feature in which content “bounces back” when a user has scrolled to the top or bottom of a given page. Many have argued that while it clearly is clever design and innovative, it is not something that is patent worthy. 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.

DroidDog will continue to keep you updated as new information is available.

FOSS Patents via MAC Rumors

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