Apple earns 'huge win' against Samsung on rubber banding patent

Illustration of Apple's "rubber-banding" patent. | Source: USPTO

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Key aspects of Apple's so-called "rubber banding" patent related to scrolling in iOS have been validated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, marking a major victory for the company in its ongoing patent dispute against Samsung.

Apple informed U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Thursday that the USPTO will issue a reexamination certificate confirming four key claims of the patent in question, according to intellectual property expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. The certificate will validate significant portions of U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381.

Among the portions confirmed by the USPTO is "claim 19," which Apple successfully leveraged against a number of Samsung products in the two companies' high-profile California trial last year. In that case, the jury sided with Apple and found that Samsung had infringed on its patented inventions.

"As a result of this new reexamination certificate, claim 19 will enjoy an enhanced presumption of validity against the invalidity theories the patent office evaluated," Mueller wrote. "Instead of invalidation in mid-2017 or later, this patent has now been confirmed in mid-2013."

The USPTO had previously tentatively rejected all claims in the patent, including claim 19, but Apple cautioned the court to wait for the process to unfold. The latest USPTO decision was portrayed by Mueller as a "huge win" for Apple, potentially giving the iPhone maker "the upper hand with other key patents it's asserting against Samsung" in both California and at the International Trade Commission.

Apple's so-called "rubber-banding" or scroll bounce-back patent deals with the iOS user interface feature that lets users know when they have reached the bottom of a scrollable page. It has been a key user interface element of Apple's mobile operating system since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007.