Twitter Is Trying To Patent 'Pull To Refresh'

The Pull to Refresh action is a common gesture for mobile apps -- used by the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Tweetbot, and Sparrow for a variety of commands. It may soon be a lot less common if the USPTO grants Twitter's patent request.

Loren Brichter filed for the "User Interface Mechanics" patent back in 2010, when he still worked for Tweetie (and before Twitter bought the company). The application described,

A method, comprising: displaying a content area; receiving input associated with a first command, the first command including a request to scroll the content area; and based on the first command, performing a second command, the second command being independent of the first command

That broad definition of a pull doesn't just cover the refresh command -- if granted, it would give Twitter a patent over any sort of pull-like gesture regardless of what command the motion activated, not just refreshing a feed. Given the ubiquitousness of the Pull-to-whatever system, however, this hopefully won't make it past the prior art phase. If it does, get ready to do more tapping, swooping, nudging, bumping, circling, and a litany of other silly gestures on account of this asinine IP arms race. [USPTO via iPodNN]



    Isnt that a bit broad? To me it could be used to describe things such as slide to unlock which is already patented?

    Indeed, was just about to say this sounds a little Apple-esque

    Software and genetic patents are bullshit. Getting an innovative product to market first should be its own reward.

    Side note, slide to unlock is stupid, it's a digital recreation of a physical lock, prior art shit.

      Not only that, but Apple's implementation of Slide to Unlock doesn't work! Tonight I slid the icon to unlock, and it didn't unlock! I had to slide it all over again.

    FFS, one-click purchase - now relatively commonplace (including the iTunes store), but patented by Amazon. Slide to unlock - same technology on my gate, but Apple has the patent for that. Pull to refresh - same technology on an old ceiling fan (turns on the fan and you feel refreshed)... I think the USPTO is being a PITA grants these patents... My lock manufacturer should not need to pay apple money for me to secure my side gate, because I use a slide lock. What next? Push to start?

    What exactly do you pull to refresh? Their finger?

    Surely it makes more sense to patent "using gestures on a touch screen to control software", and not let anyone patent individual gestures?

      pull the cucumber to get a face full of mayonnaise

    This sounds like a developer's joke on his girlfriend taken too far.

    Was going to say man-oh-man, but this is more of a man-o-war. Firing back at the other Frigates.

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