Apple is now being accused of stealing the idea of bounceback scrolling from Atari. However, there is a flaw in the argument of a so-called law pundit who describes the action as “professional theft”. Late CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs worked on the product in question when he was employed at Atari.
Apple was able to convince the jury in its case against Samsung in California that Samsung had copied elements of its iPad and iPhone. One particular feature that Apple was able to demonstrate that Samsung had copied was the bounce back scrolling. However, now a report is claiming that Apple stole the idea from the Atari game Pong.
Incidentally, Steve Jobs’s first job was at Atari, where he and Steve Wozniak worked on a game called Breakout, which was a multiplayer version of Pong.
LawPundint writes: “The essential principle of bounce-back scrolling becomes obvious if you play the famed Atari game Pong.” He adds: “Whenever the ball hits the paddle, that is a ‘bounce-back’ and if it does not hit the paddle, there is no ‘bounce-back’.”
Forbes suggests that this isn’t a fair accusation. Their report states: “Bounce back in Pong is completely different from bounce back in list scrolling.” However, that report goes on to hint that perhaps the patent system is flawed if a patent was valid in 2012 for something that’s been around since 1972.
While it may be the case that Atari owned the intellectual property for the work Jobs and Woz did when employed there, it was when Jobs was working at Apple that the patent was applied for.