Android Central

Not long after its stateside patent win against Samsung has Apple secured another victory against Android, this time for an overscrolling bounce-back patent against Motorola in Germany. The win will likely mean a sales injunction as soon as Apple posts its 25 million euro bond, and for an extra 10 million euros, it can get Motorola to destroy the infringing devices. For another 10 million euros beyond that, Apple can force Motorola to announce a recall. It's worth noting that pushing that hard will also give Motorola a chance to appeal. Moto will also have a shot at appealing the damages for past infringement. 

Motorola has been contesting the validity of this patent, "List Scrolling and Document Translation, Scaling, and Rotation on a Touch-screen display", through the entire case, though Apple has defended it successfully so far and will do so one more time in Mannheim Regional Court on December 7 before all is said and done. 

Although Google owns Motorola and any patent wins against them ultimately affects Android, stock Android has been using glow effects instead of rubber-banding for overscrolling for some time now. At worst, it's a mild irritant that Google has to find work-arounds for these sort of things, but they're ultimately small details that won't significantly impact the Android experience. 

There's been quite a bit of talk about how many companies will sue Apple for LTE patent infringement once the iPhone 5 launches, which may be considerably more difficult to get around depending on who files the lawsuits and on what grounds. Should stuff like rubber-banding be patentable, or does it too obvious to be laid claim to? How many of Apple's complaints up to this point have you seen as valid? Has Google's investment in Motorola as a patent bulwark proven to be effective or is it more of a liability?

Via: FOSS Patents


Reader comments

Motorola loses rubber-banding patent case against Apple in Germany


The "rubber-banding", "bounce-back", or whatever it's called is not immediately obvious. I much prefer Android's implementation in Gingerbread and beyond -- the rubber thing is annoying as you're never sure if you haven't swiped far enough to jump to the next screen, or whether there is no next screen.

So yeah, Motorola should have ditched the stupid rubber thingy. As to destroying the infringing devices, that would be going too far -- only the software is infringing, so they'll simply have to be reflashed with a non-infringing Android version -- a good incentive for an OS update.

Who patented the traditional mouse-operated gray scrollbar on every desktop application? Or if that one's free, someone lost a fortune there.

maybe we should bring that back, at a glance you know how long the screen is too by the size/position of the bar in the middle, genius!!

The traditional mouse that uses a track ball to detect movement was sadly invented under the supervision of Steve Jobs.

I agree with DrDoppio, good excuse to upgrade the OS.

More importantly though, Apple is wasting time suing for the littlest things. Similar to what I posted on an apple-related article on Engadget (big mistake btw, if you're not an apple fan you're apparently a troll), they "innovate" something, think they've made the best thing ever, and then proceed to sue everyone afterwards for doing anything remotely similar.

The fan boys claim they're the best company with the best products (one even claimed they're the biggest tech company in the world); I think they're running scared knowing they don't have as good of a product as many people think. They're worried that they'll be out of business if they don't sue everyone else just to keep them from using remotely similar ideas.

No kidding about the fanboys. The deception is very powerful. I posted on iMore something in regards to the iPhone being more like a glorified app launcher in comparison to any Android phone, and some douchebag played the troll card. Which was stupid because I own an iTouch, iPad and MacBook. I just own a HTC Amaze as my phone. I just don't think the iPhone is that great. Post if your dare!

It doesn't matter if Moto changes their software to not use the bounceback. Apple will just find something else to sue over. Remember, this has nothing to do with Apple protecting it's "IP" (has to be in quotes). It's all about the Jobs Jihad of destroying Android.

I thought Mr Jobs was only going to fight Android to the grave? It's a shame that the litigation is the only thing the current management inherited from him. During the last year the only thing Apple has going for it is increases in screen resolution across its entire product line, hardly the most inspired development. Everything else they did was totally meh.

Regardless what they are going to do, Motorola never should have done it in the first place if in fact there was a patent, whether stupid patent granted or not, and they could have avoided this whole dilemma. I love Android and will never go Apple anything, except my wireless keyboard, but these OEMs need to cut their losses and do something different. I never knew just scrolling down to the bottom and it didn't go anymore was such a "bad design"

The only thing that the OEMs could do differently to avoid Apple lawsuits is to not use Android. That's the only thing motivating the war.

Perhaps, but any up and coming OS (be it RIM or Windows 8) are going to come up with certain features.

What I'm saying is that Apple will go after whoever they perceive as a threat to their products. Simple as that. Nobody is truly safe with their blatant abuse of the patent system.

It's all well and good to say android should just not violate any patents, but with billions of patants, and more than a few of them wildly vauge, it's more or less accepted practice to violate a few here and there, and then afterwards sign some licensing or cross-licensing deal. Apple is just being rude. Furthermore, our legal system requires something called standing before you can bring a case. During the civil rights movement, that meant breaking laws to challenge them in court. With IP it means you have to infringe a patent to challenge its validity. That's right, Google is the Rosa Parks of patents.

Also, for everyone wondering how we got standard design elements like scroll bars, the answer is that "design patents" weren't legal back then.

This is one of the few patents Apple has been suing with lately that I can actually agree with as being valid at all. Granted, it's a very minor design element, and honestly I'm surprised they actually went to the trouble of getting a patent on it, but they did and there it is.

Google fixed this in Android quite a while back. I don't miss it in the slightest. I think the overscroll "glow" effect looks nicer anyway.

I have a Galaxy Nexus, and I honestly had no idea what they were even talking about until I really looked into it.

So yeah... nope, I don't miss it. It's not groundbreaking or even remotely required. The current glow effect is more than adequate.

Same old argument. Many of Apple's patents are utterly stupid. Period.
They don't patent "how" but patent a mere idea. LTE, though widely used, makes much more sense as a patent than bouncing scrollviews.

When will it end apple reminds me of a little kid look what I did Look and a nother kid thinks its cool and Imitates it and the first kid punches him in the face ans tries to get the whole playground to beat him up Sigh this is a nother issue abandon custom uis and go vanilla please

I don't care for the "blue over scroll" or the "bounce back" at all, why do we need either in the first place? How hard is it to just realize when you're at the bottom/top/edge/whatever of a page anyway??

Because Germany is turning back to the communistic days of the cold war and Apple is a communistic corporation so they go hand-in-hand with each other.

Pulse Reader does this. But, they're doing it in an app and not at the OS level. Does that mean Pulse can get sued?

And honestly, is this REALLY something that's worth banning a phone? A simple software update will do just fine. But nooooo...throw the baby out with the water.

Apple doesn't want ANY android phones out there..because they're scared :)

FOSS Patents by Florian Mueller is a well known FUDster and totally biased against Google, Android and the FOSS movement. Citing them as a source is not only insulting to the FOSS ecosystem but gives credibility to a paid schill of ANTI-Android forces (Oracle, Microsoft and possible Apple).

Give me a break.. Another joke patent that fails the obvious test and I am sure there is prior art in numerous games. If you flick something against a wall it bounces. Same principle. It is common UX methodology, base your design on expected behavior. Patenting expected behavior is just plan wrong and the madness needs to stop. Same goes with slide to unlock. Jeeze...

While is obvious that Apple is doing this to harm/stop Android from completely overtaking them in mobile arena, I can't understand why, or justify Motorola knowingly implementing a feature that is a patented iOS GUI element - that is utterly stupid on their part regardless how you personally feel about the validity of said patent.

For the record, I DON'T LIKE APPLE or the way they generally do business. But to be fair on all this, if a feature is patented by Apple then is patented and you need to either license it or not use it. I recall when the original Galaxy line came out, the photos by Samsung intentionally showed the app drawer on screen clearly resembling an iPhone; many - including myself - commented here about how much it looked like the damm iPhone back then. The Galaxy 3 comes out and contrary to current Android design, they decide to go with a single hardware button on the lower edge; why I ask, that is how the iPhone hardware looks like, not Android.

Even though I don't agree with the 'suit-happy' strategy adopted by Apple against Android OEM's, I can see why this is their only recourse since without Stevie, innovation is not really an option for them anymore. While I agree many of these patents are ridiculous, the fact remains they were granted and according to the system in which we operate, the property of whomever holds them be it Apple, Motorola or anyone else.

After looking at the underwhelming iPhone 5 release, you have to wonder what else beyond suing can Apple do against Android OEM to defend their market share.

Why would Motorola have to destroy devices or recall anything?? That's a simple software update, to eliminate the bounce. BIG DEAL APPLE! Woohoo, you've won such a glorious victory over a minor special effect.

Overscroll glow or bounce isn't that obvious, it just seems that way since we've been doing it for a while. The problem is that it's patenting a flourish, not the software behind it. That's like patenting soft buttons that glow when you press them, or a power LED. This is just flat out abuse of the patent systems all over the world and they all need to realize that it needs to stop. The patent system needs to be overhauled completely



Although I hate Apple, they aren't stupid. People are foolish to think they are infringing on LTE. Samsung doesn't own all of the patents on it.

Disappointingly, you are correct. While Apple is playing dirty, and bending rules, they are the complete opposite of stupid. While every other company was struggling to make devices that people wanted, Apple was comfortably coasting on the iPhone's success, letting the ship steer itself, while they silently planned a war brutal enough to make even the most powerful companies want to kill themselves. (Well, it's at least similar to those events--thats my dramatic version)
*Sigh* .. I worry for the future of all free/open software. :-(

The Android glow solution (that has been available since gingerbread was released) is far more elegant than Apples bounce, even HTC's separation of text gives more indication of what's going on than Apples kludgy solution