Forstall on inertial scrolling: Steve told Samsung ‘here’s something we invented. Don’t copy it. Don’t steal it’

We have brought you updates on the Apple vs. Samsung trial all week with yesterday’s highlight being a testimony from Apple’s expert design witness, former President of the Industrial Designers Society of America Peter Bressler. Last week, we told you Apple Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall testified in the case, but Network World discovered some interesting bits today from Forstall’s deposition from a few months ago. While noting the three key multi-touch patents involved in the case (381′ related to “rubber banding,” ‘915 related to determining one-finger scroll vs. multi-touch gestures, and ‘163 related to double tap to zoom), Network World posted excerpts from Forstall’s highly redacted deposition. The SVP appears to have claimed the now-late CEO Steve Jobs once told Samsung not to copy or steal the inertial scrolling, rubber band invention:

Returning to the Forstall’s deposition, Apple’s iOS guru is asked about discussions Steve Jobs seemingly had with Samsung 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….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…

Regarding whether the feature was discussed in subsequent meetings with Samsung:

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.

It is unclear which meetings Forstall is referring to due to the large amount of redactions in the documents, but Network World noted that court documents revealed previously that Apple offered to license Samsung patent ‘381 in November 2010. Forstall also described meetings Jobs had with Samsung when questioned about iOS icon designs:

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Well, so I – I think, in general, what Steve did in these meetings was just talk through. There’s a set of things we’ve done, which you’re copying, and those – those things, you know are – and I think a lot of different things were discussed… Now, I can’t give you specific recollections of – of what – you know, I can’t precisely say this is – was what was discussed at this meeting and guarantee it. 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…. So – but I don’t remember specifically even if in one of these things if – if the icon appearance was discussed.. icon design was discussed…. I do know that there were specific icons that were discussed where they absolutely ripped us off, and these were – some of those were extreme. One was in merging calls.

Also of note was Network World’s account of Forstall describing the importance of the ‘163 patent, which covers the ability to quickly zoom in with a double tap while scrolling:

While using early iPhone prototypes to browse the web, Forstall frequently found himself pinching and zooming in order to get the page to look “just right.” It soon occurred to him that it would be much more efficient to have the OS take care of all the dirty work and automatically zoom in appropriately with a simple double tap.

“The team went back and worked really hard to figure out how to do that,” Forstall explained. And when asked if the feature was a significant one, Forstall didn’t mince words, stating: “Absolutely! I remember what it was like before, during development and after. It allowed me to browse the web much more fluently.”

We will bring you more highlights from the Apple vs. Samsung trial as it continues today.

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.