Steve Jobs warned Samsung not to steal inertial scrolling patent

By , Aug 7, 2012

As part of iOS chief Scott Forstall’s deposition in the Apple v. Samsung mega-suit, it was revealed that Steve Jobs explicitly advised Samsung against copying or stealing the rubber band scrolling, a feature Jobs specifically underscored during his January 2007 iPhone keynote.

Another tidbit describes how Jobs felt about Samsung lifting the iPhone’s rectangular appearance and its icons…

Yoni Heisler of NetworkWorld did a nice job combing through Forstall’s heavily redacted deposition concerning the U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381 which covers “list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display”.

Put simply, this is what gives scrolling in iOS that rubber band-like bounce.

Asked in the courtroom about discussions Steve Jobs reportedly had with Samsung in July 2010 over the rubber banding patent, Forstall responded:

I don’t remember specifics. I think it was just one of the things that Steve said, here’s something we invented. Don’t – don’t copy it. Don’t steal it.

Apple representatives allegedly met with Samsung multiple times in 2010, showing them a presentation titled ‘Samsung’s Use of Apple Patents in Smartphones’ that focused on two particular patents (the ‘002 and ‘381 patents) that Apple felt Samsung was infringing upon.

One of the topics of the discussion were rectangles and iPhone icons, Forstall recollected:

I know like the design of icons with the rounded recs was something that we cared about because it – it – it looked uniquely ours, and we didn’t want other people to go and copy that design, because it would confuse users as to what’s, you know, an iPhone versus what’s one of these copy phones.

Back to the rubber band thing.

Why all the fuss over such a mundane thing as scrolling?

Forstall explains:

Rubber banding is one of the sort of key things for the fluidity of the iPhone and – and all of iOS, and so I know it was one of the ones that Steve really cared about.

I actually think that Android had not done rubber banding at some point and it was actually added later. So they actually went form sort of, you know, not yet copying and infringing to – to choosing to copy, which is sad and distasteful.

But I can’t give you a specific recollection of – of Steve, you know, going over rubber banding with – with them in those meetings or not…

I expect it came up, because it’s one of the key things we talked – you know, he and I talked about, but I don’t know if it came up there.

But who exactly invented the inertial scrolling?

The Next Web points to Walter Isaacson’s bio book on Steve Jobs, which contains the following excerpt describing an interview that interface designer Bas Ording had with Apple’s late co-founder (emphasis mine):

The process could be intimidating, but Jobs had an eye for talent. When they were looking for people to design the graphical interface for Apple’s new operating system, Jobs got an email from a young man and invited him in. The applicant was nervous, and the meeting did not go well.

Later that day Jobs bumped into him, dejected, sitting in the lobby. The guy asked if he could just show him one of his ideas, so Jobs looked over his shoulder and saw a little demo, using Adobe Director, of a way to fit more icons in the dock at the bottom of a screen.

When the guy moved the cursor over the icons crammed into the dock, the cursor mimicked a magnifying glass and made each icon balloon bigger. “I said, ‘My God,’ and hired him on the spot,” Jobs recalled. The feature became a lovable part of Mac OS X, and the designer went on to design such things as inertial scrolling for multi-touch screens (the delightful feature that makes the screen keep gliding for a moment after you’ve finished swiping).

Ording is listed as an inventor of the ‘381 patent which outlines the rubber band scrolling and is also credited with inventing the dock magnification effect in OS X.

Jobs would specifically highlight the inertial scrolling feature at the January 2007 iPhone unveiling, much to ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ from the audience.

He quipped:

I was giving the demo to someone a little while ago, and I finished the demo and I said what do you think? They said, ‘You had me at scrolling.’

Jobs also explained that the rubber-band scrolling was one of the earliest multi-touch features Apple’s engineers were researching well before the iPhone came along.

Here’s an excerpt from Jobs’ 2010 AllThingsD talk:

I asked our people about it [a tablet], and six months later they came back with this amazing display. And I gave it to one of our really brilliant UI guys.

He got [rubber band] scrolling working and some other things, and I thought, ‘My God, we can build a phone with this.’

So we put the tablet aside, and we went to work on the iPhone.

Here’s a clip of that segment.

The inertial scrolling feature remains one of the trademark highlights of iOS that Apple’s been fighting fiercely to keep exclusive to its platform.

Court documents also show how trustworthy Jobs was of Forstall’s ability to manage a software team that would create Apple’s mobile operating system from scratch as Jobs “told me I could move anyone within the company to that team”.

It was also revealed during Forstall’s testimony last week that iCloud boss Eddy Cue was the biggest proponent of a seven-inch iPad, an idea to which Jobs had allegedly become receptive by January 2011.

Forstall was profiled by Businessweek last October as Apple’s youngest and most ambitious vice president who wields power and influence because iOS software his division is charged with powers the iPhone, a device that accounts for more than 60 percent of Apple’s revenue and nearly half the profits.

The article also quotes former co-workers who labeled Forstall as Apple’s “chief a*****e”, a compliment of sorts to how driven the 43-year-old executive is.

The story also has it that Forstall clashes often with Apple’s design guru Jony Ive and hardware chief Bob Mansfield (who will be retiring later this year) and sometimes these fights would escalate up to the point where Ive and Mansfield would avoid meetings with Forstall unless Tim Cook was present.

In case you were wondering, Forstall shares Jobs’ passion for nice rides as his Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG can be often seen at Apple’s parking lot.

Do you think Apple invented the rubber-band scrolling effect?

Is the inertial scrolling invention one of those things Google argues are so widely used in smartphones that should be available to every manufacturer?

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  • Impeach Obama

    articles like this make me hate steve jobs more…now where are my thumbs up people :P

    • http://twitter.com/ExWoW MiKey

      articles like this make me like steve jobs more :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        me too :)) soo smart!!

      • Impeach Obama

        nihao ching chong

      • Impeach Obama

        hmm, you got a lot of thumbs up…let me give it a go: “OMG, I love Steve Jobs!!!”

    • @dongiuj

      “Now where are my thumbs up people”
      That’s brilliant. I gave you a thumbs up for that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        so many noob fandroids we meet again dongiuj how do i pronounce it?

      • Impeach Obama

        Zzz. you and your sophomoric comments

      • http://twitter.com/Dongiuj DonGiuj

        Mate, don’t waste your time with Liu Zhenyu. He’s just been verbally abusing everyone and anyone that has their own opinion. Plus he has a fetish about calling everyone a kid.
        Maybe he has a sickness of some sort and needs professional help. That’s just my opinion, I can’t be sure about that because I’m not a doctor but I do have some experience with child psychology.

      • Impeach Obama

        you are right. his facebook page says it all. thanks for the heads up~

      • http://twitter.com/Dongiuj DonGiuj

        Sorry, have we met before?

      • Impeach Obama

        thanks, i had a sneaking suspicion a lot of people would want to give me thumbs up ;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Childs/1067107105 Matthew Childs

      i’ll only give you a thumbs up because i love your username.

      but in opposition to your comment…this article makes me like Jobs more.

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        i agree completely that fandroid is a disgrace to america

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        sry it may hurt

      • Impeach Obama

        you’re from singapore. and i’m not in america, nor do i own any android/google products. idiot are we?

      • Impeach Obama

        it’s alright, in fact i didn’t really read the article :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

      Not here :D

    • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

      haha fandroid go fuk ur mom to say this u only have a liking for noob ppl who dont invent and steal

      • Impeach Obama

        are you beyond an idiot? btw, i don’t own any android products nor have i. nor do i use gmail. i have only apple products. but i sure do hate that arrogant steve jobs. but you are arrogant yourself, no? so perhaps that’s why you are in love with that dead dude

  • http://twitter.com/Jack_maredit Jackson Grong

    I hate Samsung and Google right now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

      always do , all day, everyday, especially the fact that they copied more features more and more shamelessly after jobs passed

    • Geeks on Hugs

      <3 Google

  • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

    How many more times can Steve Jobs or people within Google, keep telling Samsung to not copy from Apple? Samsung is like my kids, you tell them to do something for their own good, and they just do what they want anyway, then get in trouble later.

    • Geeks on Hugs

      I agree totally. I’m an Android enthusiast and I’ll be the first to say Samsung is shameless. Google needs to stop working with Samsung on Nexus devices. Samsung isn’t even a supporter of the Android platform. They want to have their own proprietary platform but haven’t been able to pull it off.

      I’d like to see the mobile os market stabilize with iOS and Android as the top players with Windows, Blackberry and maybe one of the other open source HTML 5 centric upstarts (tizen or firefox os) projects surviving as minor single digit percentage players to keep competition alive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sydney.liu.161 Sydney Liu

    Unless you are an inventor you have no idea what pain it is to see ppl steal your invention. I am a software eng and have applied for patents so yea irks me to see copycats. But of course the morally bankrupt populace have grown accustomed to ‘steal for success’ and anytime an invention is being willfully copied, touted as ‘ubiquitous’ use or ‘natural evolution’, the thief cries foul… and accepted as the norm. Don’t blame the Chinese for copying for stealing state secrets, nuclear technologies, or Windows. You invent, I steal and make a profit. Too bad so sad. Right?

    • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

      I noe u r a chinese, me too but a singaporean

    • Geeks on Hugs

      Apple doesn’t invent, they patent and market. And talk about stealing! They didn’t invent stealing but they perfected it.

      “Great artists steal.” – Steve Jobs said before he started marketing the idea that Apple innovates. The world has lost its greatest salesman. :-(

      From Wikipedia (see article for citations:

      Multi-touch technology began in 1982, when the University of Toronto’s Input Research Group developed the first human-input multi-touch
      system….In 1983, Bell Labs at Murray Hill published a comprehensive discussion of touch-screen based interfaces.[6] In 1984, Bell Labs engineered a touch screen that could change images with more than one hand. In 1985, the University of Toronto group including Bill Buxton developed a multi-touch tablet that used capacitance rather than bulky camera-based optical sensing systems.[2]
      A breakthrough occurred in 1991, when Pierre Wellner published a paper on his multi-touch “Digital Desk”, which supported multi-finger and pinching motions.[7][8]

      Various companies expanded upon these inventions in the beginning of the twenty-first century. The company Fingerworks developed various multi-touch technologies between 1999 and 2005, including Touchstream keyboards and the iGesture Pad. Several studies of this technology were published in the early 2000s by Alan Hedge, professor of human factors and ergonomics at Cornell University.[9][10][11] Apple acquired Fingerworks and its multi-touch technology in 2005. Mainstream exposure to multi-touch technology occurred in 2007 when the iPhone gained popularity, with Apple stating they ‘invented multi touch’ as part of the iPhone announcement

  • http://twitter.com/Dongiuj DonGiuj

    Did I hear right? He said “The last thing he wants to see is a nation of bloggers”.
    iDB, what do think about Steve now?
    If I heard wrong then I seriously apologise. I really do!….

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    all humans copy and steal and lie.. what matters is if you have the power to keep what you have stolen and copied and call it yours while preventing others form stopping you.. welcome to reality

  • christodouluke

    “Do you think Apple invented the rubber-band scrolling effect?”

    um, duh.

    “Is the inertial scrolling invention one of those things Google argues are so widely used in smartphones that should be available to every manufacturer?”

    This question should be rephrased, “Should patents become industry standard and free to everyone because they have copied on such a large scale?”. Obviously the answer is no.

    • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

      haha
      nice

  • Impeach Obama

    i like the 2nd to last picture in the article where it says Multi-Touch yet the hand is demonstrating a single touch.

  • Geeks on Hugs

    Apples leaders are obviously effective but so many are real assholes. Do the ends justify the means?

    Also that one graphic with “revolutionary user interfaces” is misleading. Apple beautifully utilized all of them but the click wheel is the only one they invented.

  • Mike

    Ohh I can’t freaking wait until google gets pissed at apple and removes itself from ios! Now imagine; not being able to search on google, not being able to access gmail, google maps and other apps, and WORST OF ALL, NO YOUTUBE ACCESS! Goole can do it if it wants, and apple should just shut up