updated 04:41 pm EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
All 20 claims on rubber-banding patent ruled invalid
The United States Patent Office has invalidated all 20 claims of Patent No, 7,469, 381, the patent covering the rubber-banding user interface feature of Apple's iOS mobile operating system. The news emerged today, casting some doubt on whether some aspects of Apple's $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung will stand. The invalidation is tentative in nature, meaning that the patent will go through a lengthy process in order to determine whether it will be fully invalidated.
As FOSS Patents details, the USPTO tossed out several of Apple's claims due to their having been either "anticipated" or "obvious" based on pre-existing filings, in particular the "Lira" PCT Publication No. WO 03/081458 on "controlling content display," published on October 2, 2003. Claims 1-6, 8-12, 16, 19, and 20 of Apple's patent were anticipated by Lira, while claims 7 and 13-15 were considered obvious.
The patent invalidated also has similarities to another Apple patent filing that was filed in December 2005 and granted in August 2010, calling for a "continuous scrolling list with acceleration." The USPTO's finding today says that this 2005 patent anticipates the claims made in the rubber banding patent that had been used at trial.
Samsung will likely use the ruling to further argue against the $1.05 billion judgment laid against it in its recent litigation battle with Apple. Following that decision, Apple has been pushing for permanent sales bans on infringing Samsung products.