USPTO Invalidates Apples "Rubber Band" Patent

Apple’s controversial “rubber band” patent has been invalidated by the US Patent & Trade Organization (USPTO). Florian Mueller of Foss Patents reports the “rubber banding” patent is being rejected because it lacks novelty. The rubber band claim was denied because prior art already exists in the form of a patent filed by America Online (AOL) in 2003.

The invalidation is not final, and Apple can still appeal the decision but that has not stopped Samsung filing a motion with US District Court Judge Lucy Koh alerting her to the USPTO’s decision. This could affect the US $1 billion decision announced last August as it affects 20 of the 31 devices listed in the patent infringement suit.

The rubber band patent refers to actions across Apple’s iOS Apps such as Safari or Contacts. If you scroll to the top of the page and then pull down, it reveals the a blank background. Releasing the page allows it to “bounce back” and return to its normal position.

While this is one important factor in Samsung’s forthcoming appeal, there are still a plethora of patents and judgements still against Samsung; it may not amount to a reduction in monetary penalty as many of the infringing devices also infringed on other patents as well. Yet another sad reflection on the state of the software patent industry where it seems only the lawyers are winning.

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