Apple and Samsung have had their fair share of up and downs in court this past few months, but Samsung recently took a pretty big beating. Today however things are about to take a large change in direction. Apple’s “bounce back” feature also known as rubber-banding has been ruled invalid today by the USPTO. More details below.

The bounce-back scroll effect was one of the most important patents for Apple in this case, and many others they’ve been pursuing. The one where the screen bounces back after reaching to the end of a page while scrolling. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office that patent (#7,469,381) is invalid and will be withdrawn due to “lack of novelty.” We are far from the end result, but this could see that particular patent thrown out of court.

While we aren’t sure which party requested the USPTO to re-examine the patent, most likely Samsung was one of many. This patent was one of the biggest deciding factors in the Apple vs Samsung lawsuit earlier this year where all 19 of Samsung’s devices were found to infringe. Surely that was a big chunk of the 1 billion dollar lawsuit settlement ordered by the courts.

Samsung used this feature on multiple phones dating back to the original Galaxy S, but now simply use the more fashionable Android “glow” when reaching the end of scroll. While we can’t be certain how much this will change the ruling, it certainly adds another aspect and will lower those damages awarded to Apple — that is for sure. HTC is under fire for the same patent, and they aren’t alone so this isn’t good news for Apple’s legal team. Apple will appeal this decision so we are still far away from any final verdict.

[via SlashGear]