Good news for Samsung this morning, as a preliminary U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ruling has declared Apple's "rubber band" scrolling patents invalid. According to reports from TNW and FOSS Patents, the ruling isn't yet set in stone, but it means that, for the moment, 20 patent violation claims against Samsung relating to patent no. 7,469,381 no longer stand. Crucially, FOSS Patents says, this includes one claim involved in Apple's recent courtroom victory against the Korean manufacturer.
The USPTO is reported to have found evidence of prior art in some cases, and in others the inventions were deemed to have been obvious.
The "rubber band" scrolling feature can be found throughout Apple's range of iOS and OSX devices, as well as older Samsung smartphones. However, Samsung has long since pulled the feature from its Android-based phones.
As with everything relating to the on-going litigation between Samsung and Apple, and the wider patent wars, this is not yet finalized. Nevertheless, if things proceed in this direction, it could be helpful to Samsung's appeal in the high-profile California case.