WOW. That’s pretty much all I can say after hearing about Apple and their latest demand to Samsung. I mean, Apple has gone so kookoo for cocoa puffs with this absolutely insane demand that I really wonder if they have a few screws loose. Apple is currently seeking a whopping 2.5 BILLION dollars from Samsung for patent infringement, which quite honestly, is nothing surprising coming from Apple. But what’s the patent in question? Brace yourselves...overscroll bounce. Nothing hardware related, search related, or design related. Oh no. That would make too much sense. Overscroll bounce folks (if you’re not sure what that is, I’ll explain below). But it gets better.
What the hell is overscroll bounce?
For those of you who don’t know what overscroll bounce is, (also known as the rubber-banding patent) its basically an elastic like bounce effect you see on a phone when you pull down on a screen and the text pops up, or “bounces” back to the top. This 13 second Youtube video shows the effect (Youtube link here):
No before I go on, let me make something clear first. The patent for overscroll bounce DOES apparently belong to Apple. Motorola admitted to infringing on this patent back in March, and removed it from their devices. Although the patent itself is already in a “grey zone” according to Google, anyone who isn’t Apple should simply remove it until more clarity on the legality of the patent is found. What I find absolutely bat**it crazy is that while Apple simply forced Motorola to remove the feature, they demand Samsung (who just so happens to make the only smartphone that poses a dangerous threat to the iPhone) pay a whopping 2.52 BILLION dollars for using the effect (along with 3 others).
But it’s not just overscroll bounce that Apple wants hundreds of millions of restitution for. Foss Patents reports that they are demanding $2.02 per device using the overscroll bounce effect, $3.10 for a “scrolling API” patent, $2.02 for “tap to zoom and navigate”, and $24 for use of any of Apple’s design patents or trade dress rights.
Now granted, if patents were infringed, fair enough. I’m not saying Apple doesn’t have a right to protect its patents. I’m no fanboy. Tim Cook recently said in an interview that “It is important for Apple not to be the developer for the world. We just want other people to invent their own stuff”. Again, if those words weren't coming out of the lawsuit spamming Apple Inc, I would say fair enough. But I don't think that it's really the patents that are the real issue here. What seriously bothers me is a bit deeper than that.
The motive should also be in question, not just the patent
Look at the patents in question here (especially overscroll bounce). How many people even realize that their iPhone or Android device has that “feature”? Granted, that doesn’t give you the right to use it without permission/licensing fees. But tell me this...does Android’s notification feature set it apart from the iPhone? It certainly does! That’s part of what makes Android Android right? Interestingly enough, Google never sued Apple for completely copying it and smacking it into IOS did they? Did Google sue Apple over copying their Quick Reply feature and adding it to IOS 6?
The point I’m trying to make is this: Apple wouldn’t give a DAMN about overscroll if SAMSUNG wasn’t using it. They are simply employing below the belt tactics in a pathetic effort to keep their biggest competitor at bay. If Motorola simply had to remove overscroll bounce via an OTA fix, why can’t Samsung do the same? Why the 2.5 billion dollar penalty?
Apple simply wants Samsung out of the way
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 (and today yet another Samsung Tablet) was banned in Germany for “looking too much like an iPad”. Interesting. Now I previously owned a Galaxy Tab 10.1 for a year, and now I have an Asus Transformer Prime, and I can honestly tell you that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 looks nothing like an iPad. The Transformer Prime however, looks EXACTLY like an iPad, and even uses the same bevels and curves of the iPad 2 to a tee. How come Apple never sued Asus over the Prime or newly announced Infinity tablet? Could the reason be that Asus doesn’t pose a threat to Apple and isn’t selling millions of Transformer Primes the way that Apple sells iPads?
To put it bluntly, Apple simply wants to stop Samsung from innovating...period. Samsung has made some amazing products that consumers undeniably love, and Apple simply can’t stand it. Sure, HTC and Motorola childish behavior on an almost monthly basis.
Samsung will have to fess up on using this patent, and quite honestly, that’s fine. But for Apple to honestly believe that such features are worth 2.5 billion dollars is simply bonkers. I’m no lawyer, but I’m also willing to bet money that the courts won’t either, and that they are quickly getting tired of this childsplay.
And if a patent like overscroll bounce IS literally worth hundreds of millions of dollars of damages, Google should demand about..oh I don’t know...at least 50 billion from Apple for copying their trademark notification system.
My apologies for the rant guys. I’m gonna head down to the patent office now and purchase the patent for urinating downwards.
Update: Apple already patented it. I will start peeing up as of today.
Picture credits: allthingsd.com, media.merchantcircle.com, and edibleapple.com (combined and edited by myself)
Youtube video: fry152blog's Youtube channel