One of the most valuable graphical features on early computers that had it, was hardware scrolling, that allowed the horizontal position of the screen to be adjusted by one or more pixels, thereby allowing horizontal scrolling to be done more easily than by bit-shifting every byte in the frame buffer or tile bitmaps. The Atari 800 and Commodore 64 had this feature; it greatly improved their quality as game platforms. And it was, as I understand it, cheap to implement (being mostly an 8-bit shift register and some control logic).
Was this technique ever patented? If so, when and by whom?