You can take that to the
bank patent office! Apparently, IBM and Nokia have licensed Apple’s “Scrollback” patent. You know, that patent that gives users a visual cue that they’re at the end of a document by showing a pattern below the content. Apple, at least in the realm of user interface and user experience, isn’t well known for being lax around competitors that use Apple’s concepts. Interestingly, Apple even offered to license the same patent to rival Samsung in November of 2010, but the continuing worldwide legal battle between the two companies shows that did little to ease tensions.
Nilay Patel over at The Verge makes a very salient point: “… it’s a far cry from Steve Jobs telling his biographer that he was willing to go ‘thermonuclear war’ on Google and Android OEMs for infringing Apple’s patents.” It was extremely clear in the last portion of the Steve Jobs bio that he didn’t want Google and the Android phone makers to give Apple money. He wanted Android, as it stood, to die. Perhaps some of the less dogmatic Apple execs were able to talk Jobs down on certain points — like this particular patent.
I think that most folks in the tech sphere can agree that the US patent system isn’t great. It needs a lot of work to be truly functional in today’s market. That being said, companies licensing and cross-licensing patents (yes, even substantial user-facing features like this one) is a good thing. I was happy to see this story, and I wish more people were covering this in the echo chamber.
Source: The Verge