Tweetie from AteBits aka Loren Brichter was one of the most popular Twitter clients for the iPhone before it was acquired by Twitter and was relaunched as the official Twitter client for iPhone. Among the several cool features on Tweetie was this simple ‘drag to refresh‘ functionality. Basically, this feature allowed users to simply tap and swipe a downward gesture in order for the client to refresh the Twitter timeline.
It now appears that Loren Brichter had sought to patent this idea as founder of Atebits. The date the patent was filed is interesting – April 8, 2010. That’s just a day before Twitter officially announced (on April 9th) that they were acquiring Tweetie. The patent is of course filed in the name of Atebits and so Twitter may have agreed to purchase this patent idea as well. But from the dates, it appears that Twitter may have waited for Brichter to have filed the patent idea before deciding to officially announce their acquisition. Any idea why?
Nevertheless, this is how Brichter explains the seemingly simple concept in his patent application
“In one arrangement, a scrollable list of content items may be displayed. Input associated with a scroll command may be received. Then, based on the scroll command, a scrollable refresh trigger may be displayed. Subsequently, the scrollable list of content items may be refreshed in response to determining, based on the scroll command, that the scrollable refresh trigger has been activated. In at least one instance, it may be determined that the scrollable refresh trigger has been activated in response to determining that the scroll command was completed while the scrollable refresh trigger was fully displayed.”