‘Teaching away’ is why Apple’s rubber-banding patent has far more merit than slide-to-unlock

“Apple’s four most famous touchscreen software patents are rubber-banding (the ‘overscroll bounce,’ asserted in the first Apple v. Samsung case in California), slide-to-unlock (at issue in the ongoing Apple v. Samsung II trial in California, pinch-to-zoom (at issue in the first California case), and the ‘Steve Jobs patent’ on touchscreen heuristics,” Florian Müller writes for FOSS Patents.

“Two of those patents have been asserted (and maybe even granted) only in the U.S.: pinch-to-zoom and the ‘Steve Jobs patent,'” Müller writes. “That is one reason to focus on rubber-banding and slide-to-unlock now. There are even bigger reasons. Apple is already enforcing, through a U.S. import ban, the ‘Steve Jobs patent’ against Samsung, but in vain: the ITC, a U.S. government agency with quasijudicial competencies, cleared Samsung’s workaround and consumers don’t even notice a thing. That makes the ‘Steve Jobs patent’ a blunt sword at best. And pinch-to-zoom, which was deemed valid by the first California jury (because the jury didn’t even care to evaluate all of the prior art), was rejected in its entirety by the Central Reexamination Division of the USPTO (Apple appealed to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board).”

Müller writes, “Of the two remaining patents, rubber-banding is the much more defensible and meritorious one in terms of representing an inventive step — even if not rocket science, it is inventive per se — relative to the start of the art. It’s a useful exercise, or case study, to compare the two patents and, at a high level, their validity challenges. Since Apple has asserted both patents internationally, I will make a clear distinction between general principles of patent law that are not specific to any jurisdiction, U.S.-only parameters, and special European requirements. These patents are easy enough to explain that all of this is doable without making things too complicated.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. While I value Florian’s legal expertise, his rather long and technical comments show just how screwed up the legal system is.

      “Slide to unlock” has been covered (visually) totally by the slide bolt.
      Samsung’s comments showed however, that the actual technique of making such a simple gesture work well was way more technical in nature.
      Where to slide (start point and end point)
      How to slide (how much finger is needed, for how long)
      How to present needed action clearly and simply.
      How to tweak the whole thing to work well 99.99% of time.

      Samsung could not do it ….. WELL. And that is the secret. A square wheel will work. But it will not work well.

      Florian get caught in the web of Apple is bad cause it did not invent…. But samsung could not make it work after being given the how to do it, they still had to copy to make it work.

      Its a point he keeps missing and so does the legal system. A system designed to work over decades based on mechanical systems that simple minds can understand.

      Apple took the complex (visual, mechanical, psychological ) and put them all together. That is why it works.

      Just saying.

  1. What happened to this guy? His site claims he’s a Windows consultant but it’s like Apple turned him down for the prom date and now he has an axe to grind. Does he not realize how transparent he is, or does he just not care?

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