You may have noticed that the Facebook and Twitter apps have a “Pull To Refresh” feature, but Apple does not use it at all in any of their apps on the App Store. It turns out that Twitter owns the patent for that feature because Loren Brichter, the founder of Tweetie filed for it and Twitter acquired his company. The patent is called “User Interface Mechanics.” The patent also claims ownership of issuing a command on pulling down a menu.
Below is a description of the patent:
Methods, computer readable media, and apparatuses for providing enhanced user interface mechanics are presented. 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.
However Britcher said that he would never enforce the patent. But now that Twitter owns the patent, that may change. This patent was filed back in 2010.