US Apple bounce-back patents ruled invalid

Samsung logo Samsung has been fighting an August ruling that awarded Apple huge damages

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A handful of Apple patents have been ruled invalid, throwing doubt on a landmark trial that awarded huge damages to the smartphone maker.

The US Patent and Trademark Office has ruled that 20 patents relating to scroll technology "lack novelty".

In August a California court awarded Apple $1.05bn (£652m) in damages, after ruling Samsung had infringed patents.

Samsung has submitted the preliminary ruling from the patent office to judge Lucy Koh, who is considering appeals.

The preliminary ruling follows an anonymous request in May to re-examine some of Apple's patents for touch-screen heuristics.

Some of the patents were rejected because there was not enough of an inventive step between the prior technology and Apple's patent.

Apple will have the chance to appeal against the decision.

Samsung has been calling for a retrial of the patent dispute case, claiming that the jury foreman had "failed to answer [questions] truthfully" and might have been biased.

Bouncing back

Apple had alleged Samsung had infringed its intellectual property in the design of its Galaxy smartphones.

The so-called rubber-banding patents, also known as overscroll bounce, refer to the bouncing animation that takes place when a user scrolls past the end of a page.

Samsung has already found a workaround to the overscroll bounce patent although, if Apple's patents were found to be invalid, it is likely the feature would make a return to handsets sold in the US.

It is one of many ongoing patent disputes between Apple and rival smartphone makers.

The news that some of Apple's patents had been invalidated was first reported by patent consultant Florian Mueller.

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