back to article Major blow for Apple: 'Bounce back' patent bounced back by USPTO

The infamous "bounce-back" Apple patent has been mostly rejected by the US Patent Office, a decision that will have a major impact on the fruity firm's legal battles with Samsung. Sammy was quick to point out the ruling on the patent to the court, as the jury in the recent billion-dollar Californian case ruled that 21 accused …


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  1. G Murphy

    They'd be wise to let this go

    it's not exactly great publicity, and by the time they're done they'll have spent more on lawyers than on any monetary gains derived from this sort of activity.

    1. Ian Yates

      Re: They'd be wise to let this go

      But then people would start looking in to all of the other software patents (not just Apple's) and someone might realise that it's a completely stupid concept

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They'd be wise to let this go

        Would a rectangle with rounded corners qualify as a completely stupid concept?

    2. Bob Vistakin

      Re: They'd be wise to let this go

      Nah ... the humiliation isn't complete until they've been forced to apologize in the press. Then apologize again for, err, apologizing wrong the first time.

    3. El Andy

      Re: They'd be wise to let this go

      Apple don't actually need to win and they know it. If they can keep this dragging long enough that Samsung invest time and effort into developing alternate, possibly less effective, alternatives (which it would appear they already have done) then the lawsuit has had a favourable outcome for Apple even if they lose. It's the game of lawyers.

  2. g e


    That's the sound of Apple bawling like a spoilt brat.

    Mind you, if you will patent bleeding-obvious pointless shit and then essentially publicise the fact at trial then someone will challenge its right to exist...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!

      Wait until someone copies your stuff then we will see you wail like a baby.

      1. EyeCU

        Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!

        Please point out something that Apple did FIRST and then maybe they will get some sympathy if someone copies it. Everything they have ever done has been copied from somewhere else, they just claim they did it first and then try to sue the arse off anybody who does something vaguely similar.

      2. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!

        The suggestion that prior art trumps Apple's claims suggest that Apple not only didn't have "their stuff copied", but that they in fact copied someone else, who'd already done it. To then sue Samsung on the basis that "they own the idea" (effectively) is hypocritical to say the least.

        Apple are the ones crying like babies. The problem is that they are not the ones that had their stuff copied. In fact, the opposite.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!

          Can we call that the Lance Armstrong litigation?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!

          Unfortunately El Reg doesn't delve into the prior art claims or Apple's rebuttal to them.

          There are only two claims of prior art--products that I hadn't heard of until now (a DiamondTouch tabletop computer by Mitsubishi and a TableCloth app, very hard to find information about what that even is or does) and in the case of the DiamondTouch, cross examination proved that it didn't even have the bounce back feature when it was demo'ed to Apple.

          So I think it's extremely likely that Apple didn't copy the idea, it's just possible that they didn't invent it first.

          1. Tim Worstal

            Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!

            Bounceback....I've seen one claim that it was extant in Pong. You know, the game Jobs and Wozniak worked on for Atari?

      3. g e

        Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!


        I'm not so arrogant or so far up myself I consider anything I've done to be utterly unique and inventive and not in some way derivative of work that has gone before.

        Mind you that's why I'm G E and you're anonymous. And a coward.

        15:37 - And yes, I just corrected the typo in 'arrogant'

        1. Kevin Johnston

          Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!


          forget the typo, it is just one of those things. Wonderful quote by someone I have completely forgotten....The man who has made no mistakes has made nothing......well something like that anyway

      4. Bod

        Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!

        @AC - To quote, Steve Jobs who quoted Picasso - "Good artists copy, great artists steal"

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        2. mickey mouse the fith

          Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!

          "@AC - To quote, Steve Jobs who quoted Picasso - "Good artists copy, great artists steal""

          So even his quotes have prior art, how very fitting.

          I honestly cant believe that trivial, obvious things like bounceback can be patented in the first place. I really hope Apple get hammered over all this, then maybe companies will think twice before trying to pull the same, innovation killing trick in the future.

          1. Matthew 25

            Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!

            1. I don't consider bounceback to be obvious or trivial. I actually think its quite clever as a metaphor and innovative. Definitely patentable.

            2. I don't know who did it first.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BWAAAAAAA!!!!!

        Imitation is the highest form of flattery. However, if the one being imitated goes around and whines about being imitated or that no one is paying the attention to the smartest kid in school, the one that comes up with all the good ideas, then everyone starts to get a funny feeling about the person they are copying, rather than being truly impressed by that person's (hopefully) wonderful/practical/useful/genius/etc idea. If you hog ideas, you stifle your ability to generate more.

    2. Bob Vistakin

      Think different

      Judge to Apple, after last years "victory" over Samsung: "Just one more thing..."

  3. FunkyEric

    Apple - please - fuck - off - now - thank - you

    1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge


      Please don't ask Apple to do that or they'll only go and patent it. Which means the rest of the world will get sued every time we try and enjoy ourselves until 5 years down the line the patent office finally decide that perhaps there is some prior art.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    By the time Apple win this (IF they ever win it) it'll be 2015 and they will be petitioning the courts to have Samsung take 2012 phones off the shelves immidiately !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "By the time Apple win this (IF they ever win it) it'll be 2015 and they will be petitioning the courts to have Samsung take 2012 phones off the shelves immidiately !"

      I have to admit, this made me snort.

    2. TheOtherHobbes

      Hey it's...

      In the eventually irrelevant litigation stakes, this is turning into MS vs DOJ 2.0 from 1998 (or whenever the hell it was.)

      1. Tim Bates

        Re: Hey it's...

        It's more like the SCO vs the world case - no real evidence, lots of strange accusations, and a company slowly becoming irrelevant as they slowly turn all their customers against them.

  5. ItsNotMe

    If Apple would just take some of the money they are spending on this crap...

    ...and put it towards designing some NEW products...instead of warming over what is already OLD merchandise...then they might just see their stock price head in the opposite direction from where it is going currently...which is DOWN.

  6. Magnus Ramage


    "the USPTO has rendered a dispositive decision"

    For a horrible moment I thought this was an ugly bit of lawyer-euphemism for "negative". Thankfully it's an ugly piece of lawyer jargon instead, being an adjective form of "disposition". Phew!

    (Where's the icon for <wipes-pedantic-brow>?)

  7. Shasta McNasty

    Just a thought

    If Apple had chosen not to piss all that money away on lawyers and instead invested it in R&D, they may actually have some exciting new products that people want to buy.

    1. DF118

      Re: Just a thought

      I agree, however they seem to be doing just fine selling bland old ones for now.

    2. Cliff

      Re: Just a thought

      In fairness, they're swimming in cash, trillions of the stuff, which they could be spending on actual innovation and R&D. This is pocket money to them thanks to people who believe the marketing guff about how a perfectly decent mid-market company is bleeding-edge

    3. alan buxey

      Re: Just a thought

      was going to post exactly the same sentiment. Lead by being innovative. If others copy you, they are still

      behind you, you still lead the curve and race - and imitation is the best form of flattery.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would seem that in US law nothing is final until you run out of money. Or die. Is that why inmates spend so many years on Death Row? So the lawyers keep getting fees from all those appeals?

    Relevance: if what we're being told about iOS 7 is true (that it will imitate Windows 8 which is visually flat and non-skeuomorphic) then (a) Apple is indeed running out of ideas and (b) these are beginning to look a bit like Death Row appeals for Apple.

    Currently their only real hope seems to be war on the Korean peninsula and a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

    1. James O'Brien
      Paris Hilton

      In answer to your question

      No its not for the lawyers. I recall hearing years ago that the reason for so many appeals when it comes to the death penalty is to allow those condemned that sliver of hope that in the case they truly are innocent to be freed.

      Could be wrong but that came to mind as soon as I saw your question

      On a side note I'm all for death penalties so long as they is irrefutable proof of guilt.

  9. Steve Knox Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Wrong Decision

    The USPTO decided that prior art anticipated the bounce-back patent that gets documents or photos to bounce when you try to scroll beyond their end on a touchscreen

    The USPTO should have decided that the patent was based on a stupid animation that doesn't rise to level of an invention, let alone an original one.

  10. Vimes

    I wonder if SCOs old lawyers have found work at Apple?

    Apple might also have more credibility if they didn't rely on courts to tell them when to respect the rights of others...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, lawyers previously working for SCO

      are now helping Oracle in their Java API fight against Google.

  11. Annihilator

    Bouncing Back

    Am I the only one who read "Bouncing Back" and immediately thought of Alan Partridge's autobiography, heartily endorsed by Shakin' Stevens?

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Justice

    Wait, whut?

    "A 'final' office action does not signal the end of reexamination at the USPTO, much less the end of consideration of the patentability of the claims under reexamination. Rather, 'finality' is primarily a procedural construct that limits the right to amend claims and introduce evidence as a matter of right in reexamination."

    Da Fuq did I just read?

    Do they have The Architect from the Matrix working for them?

    If so, I'm taking both pills... and grabbing some popcorn.

    1. Steve Foster

      Re: Wait, whut?

      I suspect it's Apple Lawyer-puke for "we think our client's pockets are deeper than those of the USPTO".

    2. MrT

      Finality... not the end.

      It is not the beginning of the end.

      And it is not even the end of the beginning...


      "Oh, that was easy!" says Man, who then goes on to prove that black is white, and gets killed at the next zebra crossing.

  14. stanimir

    The most shocking... that bounce back mambo-jumbo could actually be considered patentable. The game is so rigid it's just stupid. Laws from the lawyers for the lawyers, etc. Software patents help no one but the trolls.

  15. ChrisM

    Samsung Trial

    So how much of the judgement does this invalidate (if its upheld)?

    If it is all upheld can Samsung sue for vexatious litigation as their case was based on a false premise?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Samsung Trial

      Of course not you idiot. Please learn to think before posting.

  16. reno79

    Am I the only one who is getting sick and tired of companies that are supposed to be innovating in their chosen field, but instead choose to find out the next best way to sue their immediate competition?

    This is not just aimed at Apple (as Samsung has filed a few counter complaints, and everyone sues everyone these days. I just want something actually new to come out of one of these companies, rather than mild re-hashes to pay for their ever ongoing legal battles.

    I hope they end up suing themselves into oblivion (actually, that means the only people who win are the scumbag lawyers!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really, is Apple "supposed to" innovate? According to whom? The Bible? Your mom?

      Apple can do as they damn well please. There is no requirement for them to innovate anything. Jesus, they invent the modern mobile phone and the modern tablet computer and now everybody expects them to revolutionize the industry on an annual basis.

      Why doesn't anybody expect Samsung to innovate anything? All they've been doing year after year is putting a faster processor and a bigger screen in their phones. Oh wait, the S 4 has a thermometer too. Miracle of innovative miracles.

      1. David Simpson 1

        Samsung innovate ? You mean like all the actual technology in the iPhone and iPad ? CPU/RAM/Screen/Camera in some of them, Apple are system integrators - good ones but they invent nothing they are just good at packaging other people's innovation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          We can play this game as much as you want... you think Samsung invented transistors? (Nope, Bell Labs, 1948.) The ARM processor cores that they use? (Nope, ARM, UK company.) LCD screens? (Nope, RCA, ~1968.) Digital cameras? (Nope, again Bell Labs, ~60s.)

          As much as you would love your little narrative that Samsung invents all the technology in iPhones the fact is that they are merely acting as a manufacturing arm for Apple... in almost all cases they are not the sole supplier of any given component, or even the preferred supplier.


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