Apple on Tuesday was awarded the patent for a transparent-style of scroll bar that disappears when the window is not being used.
The patent (number: 8,223,134) gives Apple the sole right to use this type of scroll bar on its devices.
This type of scroll bar first appeared in iOS, and Apple has also implemented it in the Mac OS X operating system. A similar style of scroll bar is used in both Google Android and Windows Phone devices. Apple may potentially use this patent in its ongoing legal wrangles with Samsung, and other manufactures of devices that rival the iPhone.
Although Apple has been using scroll bars for a number of years now, it only applied for the patent four months ago. During the original launch of the iPhone, Steve Jobs, former CEO, said "and boy have we patented it". Apple continues to protect the iOS interface through the legal channels.
The abstract for the patent reads:
In a computer-implemented method, a portion of an electronic document is displayed on the touch screen display. The displayed portion of the electronic document has a vertical position in the electronic document. An object is detected on or near the displayed portion of the electronic document. In response to detecting the object on or near the displayed portion of the electronic document, a vertical bar is displayed on top of the displayed portion of the electronic document. The vertical bar has a vertical position on top of the displayed portion of the electronic document that corresponds to the vertical position in the electronic document of the displayed portion of the electronic document. After a predetermined condition is met, display of the vertical bar is ceased. The vertical bar is displayed for a predetermined time period when the portion of the electronic document is initially displayed.