With Apple currently locked in a vicious legal battle with Samsung over various patents it is clear that the people behind the iPhone are serious about keeping their edge over the competition.
One area that Apple is apparently happy to let some of its competition in on the secret sauce that makes its iOS user interface so polished is the ‘rubber band scrolling.’ If you’ve got an iOS device in front of you, open a web page or document and then scroll off the top or bottom. You’ll see a brief background image and then the screen will ‘bounce’ back. There’s a patent for that animation, and Apple owns it.
Now new redacted versions of statements shown to technology site The Verge show that Apple did actually license its patent number #7,469,381, or the ‘scrollback’ patent to both Nokia and IBM.
Just as interestingly, Apple apparently even offered to license that same patent to Samsung back in 2010 as part of a potential settlement, the same company they are currently fighting in court on various fronts.
The ‘381 patent is one which has been the subject of legal proceedings before, with Apple going after Nokia, HTC and Samsung. The move from Apple’s perceived stance that they do not want to share its software tricks with the competition to a situation where the competition is offered to license the brown jewels is an interesting one. What happened to Steve Jobs wanting to put Android out of business?
What we’d really like to know is why Samsung decided against licensing Apple’s ‘scroll back’ patents when offered the option during previous legal proceedings. The theories put forward are that Apple either wanted an unrealistic amount of money in return, or Samsung simply decided that the patents were invalid. Either way, it appears there was a chance to shake hands and move on with at least one scrap between the two giants, but someone decided against it.
Whether that will end up being a good decision going forward may take some time to become apparent.
As we say with all these Samsung Vs Apple legal battles, we’ll see where the whole things goes in the coming weeks, months and probably, years.