Patent troll Apple has lost yet another bid to patent one of its user interface features.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has informed Apple that it cannot enforce its “rubber banding” patent because the feature is simply not a novel idea.
The patent covers a user interface feature which causes a bounce back when users swipe to the end of a list. Last year the USPTO invalidated 20 claims made in the patent and a couple of months later it also struck down another Apple patent, covering multitouch features of iOS.
Apple was given two months to appeal the decision and prove that the patented technology was different from any previously patented technology. Apple had to prove an “inventive step” and it failed. As far as we know, stuff bouncing up and down is caused by gravity and intertia, and we’re not sure you can patent either of them, at least not without Sir Isaac Newton rising rolling over in his grave. Not that Apple wouldn’t try.
Recent USPTO rulings could cause a lot of trouble for Apple in an upcoming legal battle with Samsung. Last year Apple won a billion dollar settlement from Samsung, over a number of IP disputes. Samsung can now at least hope to reduce the damages, as some patents used in the case were clearly invalid.