The United States Patent and Trademark Office has once again invalidated Apple's "bounce-back" patent. The patent, labeled patent # 7,469,381, was one of Apple's major patents in its lawsuit against Samsung. It provides the "bounce-back" feature that bounces the screen back upward if the user scrolls past the end of a page/document. The patent also includes other features including dragging documents, rotating documents, list scrolling, scaling, and many other features.
The '381 patent was invalidated last October due to "lack of novelty" and many other factors. Apple used the patent to accuse 21 of Samsung's devices of infringement. It used claim 19 in the patent to accuse the Samsung Captivate, Vibrant, Fascinate, Galaxy S, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II (i9100), Epic 4G, Droid Charge, Infuse 4G, Exhibit 4G, Mesmerize, Continuum, Indulge, Gem, Replenish, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy Ace, Nexus S 4G, Galaxy Tab, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Wi-Fi).
Apple appealed the first invalidation, but the USPTO has invalidated it again in what it says is the Final Office Action. Apple can still appeal the decision, but the "Final" aspect of the action limits Apple's rights to amend the claims. Apple has 2 months to appeal USPTO's decisions, and if it fails once again, it can seek judicial review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit or in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Last year, the courts ruled that Samsung had to pay a $1.05 billion fine to Apple, a fine that Apple hoped to increase. Unfortunately for Apple, Judge Lucy Koh reduced that fee by $450.5 million down to $600 million. Now that the bounce-back patent has been invalidated again, Samsung can reduce the fine even further. However, Apple, of course, isn't going to let Samsung win that easily, if at all. It's already working on appealing USPTO's decision. It states, "Reexaminatinon of the '381 patent is far from conclusion."