NEW YORK (
) -- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has announced a decision that may ultimately deal a huge blow to
and could turn out to be redemption and a big win for
As reported by
, the USPTO has tentatively invalidated Apple's "rubber-banding" patent, the one which was a major factor in the California jury's decision to award $1.5 billion in damages to Apple. Rubber-banding is a screen scrolling effect that shows users that they've navigated to the end of a screen. It's also known as overscroll bounce.
, number 7,469,381, and especially claim 19 has been deemed invalid in two ways -- either of which could be enough to overturn the August 24 verdict and judgment award.
was rejected for what was termed a "lack of novelty." That means Apple would have to get the patent office or appeals court to rule its version of rubber-banding was new despite documents which prove an earlier existence and that their invention is sufficient to justify their patent.
According to Foss, while the USPTO's non-final decision is not binding, there is a possibility that Judge Koh will be persuaded by this to grant Samsung's overrule-the-jury motion to the extent it relates to that specific patent. Samsung has reportedly sent a copy of the USPTO's ruling to the judge for consideration.
Samsung has already provided a workaround for this specific patent claim but might add back the rubber-banding feature in the United States if the patent is ultimately invalidated.
If the patent invalidation becomes permanent, the move could effect the outcome of similar Apple suits against
, a division of
--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.