Loren Brichter, the developer behind Tweetie and its hugely popular pull-to-refresh gesture, which has now made its way into countless iOS apps, has spoken out about Twitter’s recent move to patent the feature. Speaking on the One More Thing podcast, Brichter said that there’s really no need for people to worry about it.
It was revealed earlier this week that Twitter has applied to patent the pull-to-refresh gesture that made its debut in Brichter’s Tweetie client. Brichter invented the gesture, but Twitter acquired his rights to it when they acquired Tweetie — which is now the official Twitter client — several years ago.
If the patent is granted, then, theoretically, Twitter could force other developers to remove the gesture from their apps, or make them pay to license it. However, Brichter feels that there’s nothing to worry about:
… I can’t talk about the specifics but Twitter owns the patent, but I don’t think people have anything to worry about.
It’s unclear what exactly Brichter means. Could it be that he feels it’s unlikely the patent will be granted? Or that even if it is granted, Twitter won’t chase other developers for their cash?
It’s likely to be the former — as Cult of Mac’s own John Brownlee noted earlier this week:
Right now, it’s just an application for a patent, and could, of course, not be granted, especially since Twitter didn’t get around to applying for a patent until 2010. That makes it potentially invalid because prior art exists with the feature.
Brichter also talks about the design process behind the feature on the One More Thing podcast, and it’s well worth a listen. You can check it out via the One More Thing website.