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Apple, Graphics Properties Holdings battle with multiple patent suits

post #1 of 35
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In a handful of newly filed patent infringement lawsuits, Apple is suing and also being sued by Graphics Properties Holdings, formerly known as Silicon Graphics Inc.

Apple this month filed two complaints against Graphics Properties Holdings Inc., through its attorneys George A. Riley and Ryan K. Yagura of the Los Angeles-based firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP. Details of Apple's patent infringement complaints, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, remain unavailable for public viewing.

Graphics Properties Holdings countered last week with its own complaint lodged against Apple in U.S. District Court in Delaware. That complaint has been made publicly available, revealing that the company is accusing Apple of violating a total of three patents:
United States Patent No. 6,650,327 - "Display System Having Floating Point Rasterization and Floating Point Framebuffering"
United States Patent No. 6,816,145 - "Large Area Wide Aspect Ratio Flat Panel Monitor Having High Resolution for High Information Content Display"
United States Patent No. 5,717,881 - "Data Processing System for Processing One and Two Parcel Instructions"
All three patents were originally filed in the 1990s. Two of them are assigned to Silicon Graphics, while the '881 patent was originally issued to Cray Research Inc. of Eagan, Minn.

Apple was first sued by Silicon Graphics in November of 2010 and was originally accused of just violating the '327 patent. But last week's complaint, filed under the new name of Graphics Properties Holdings, adds the two additional patents.



The latest lawsuit from Graphics Properties Holdings was preceded by a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission on Nov. 17. That wide-reaching lawsuit included Apple among a long list of defendants such as Sony, Samsung, LG, HTC and Research in Motion.

The ITC complaint is also related to the same '327, '145 and '881 patents singled out in the U.S. District Court lawsuit lodged against Apple in Delaware. Graphics Properties Holdings noted that companies including Microsoft and IBM license its technology, and has requested that the ITC Commission halt the importation of products made by the accused companies.
post #2 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Large Area Wide Aspect Ratio Flat Panel Monitor Having High Resolution for High Information Content Display"

Patent an aspect ratio? I call dibs on 1:1.61803399
post #3 of 35
They do have many valid patents though I'm not sure how strong these three are. More so I don't think there is a video card out there that uses floating point in a frame buffer. Maybe my understanding of the term frame buffer is in error but they usually support 8 or 10 bits per color channel. Rasterization is another thing and that would be very involved as the GPu manufactures most likely already license those patents.

Sadly this is really another once great company searching for a way to avoid the end. Sort of like the Kodak of the computer world.
post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by uplate View Post

Patent an aspect ratio? I call dibs on 1:1.61803399

That's golden.
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post #5 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by uplate View Post

Patent an aspect ratio? I call dibs on 1:1.61803399

The way I read it they patented the idea of making a display larger and of higher resolution! This isn't a technology patent in my mind. It is like somebody seeing a half inch bolt and nut and then filling a patent for a three inch bolt and nut.
post #6 of 35
Steve said it. Apple learned its lesson from the M$ copy feast of the eighties and isnt going to sit back and watch the plunder happen again.

It will be a show to watch, this newly emboldened Apple with its swords drawn. It will also be interesting to see if Apple has indeed stepped on others patents but now is not the time for Apple to pay the distressed damsel in the patent plunder that has been a dog's lunch for too long now.

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post #7 of 35
From the title alone:
Quote:
United States Patent No. 6,816,145 - "Large Area Wide Aspect Ratio Flat Panel Monitor Having High Resolution for High Information Content Display"

What? What!? WHAT!?
They patented having a big, wide-screen monitor?

WHAT!?

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post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Large Area Wide Aspect Ratio Flat Panel Monitor Having High Resolution for High Information Content Display"


Correct me if I am wrong. Wide aspect ratio flat panel. Doesn't this already exist when you hook up a LCD TV to a computer?
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post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

From the title alone:


What? What!? WHAT!?
They patented having a big, wide-screen monitor?

WHAT!?

Apparently they patented floating point numbers in graphics, too. It's just unbelievable.
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post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

From the title alone:


What? What!? WHAT!?
They patented having a big, wide-screen monitor?

WHAT!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Correct me if I am wrong. Wide aspect ratio flat panel. Doesn't this already exist when you hook up a LCD TV to a computer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by knightlie View Post

Apparently they patented floating point numbers in graphics, too. It's just unbelievable.

I really yearn for the days when people who don't know what they're talking about will keep their mouths shut until they know something.

You can't simply read the title and pretend to know what the patent is about. You have to read the claims - and then interpret the claims exactly as they are written.
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post #11 of 35
Maybe the patent office should streamline its services to offer patent submissions on Twitter since people are only willing to read the title.

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post #12 of 35
Ogma filed a similar "wide-screen" patent infringement claim against Apple and at least 2 dozen other companies earlier this year. Apple settled out-of-court on that one from what I've found. When I get a few minutes later today I'll see if these are somehow related.

http://www.applepatent.com/2011/05/o...e-settled.html
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post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I really yearn for the days when people who don't know what they're talking about will keep their mouths shut until they know something.

http://www.patents.com/us-6816145.html

Maybe i'm missing something... does anyone see a claim here that is inventive and not just standard LCD monitor technology + the super-awesome 1024x1600 ratio?
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by knightlie View Post

Apparently they patented floating point numbers in graphics, too. It's just unbelievable.

No, it's not.. They invented OpenGL after all.

That's for a framebuffer ( read: video card ) that supports floating point values for pixel color values. At the time in the 1990's all framebuffers used Integers to represent this. To do anything else woulld require unheard of horsepower. Which is why when SGI made one, they patented it.

Not only did SGI store pixel color information this way, but other "attributes" like textures, antialiasing, dynamic lighting etc in this format. All famililar stuff now days, but virtually unknown, especially in hardware, in those days.

Now that doesn't mean that Apple's framebuffers infringe. It's especially difficult for my lay brain to see how Apple would be found at fault here even if the technology does infringe. The are for the most part using off the shelf components, so NVIDIA, ATI , ARM etc would seem to be the likely targets. But a framebuffer can of course be logically in software instead of hardware. We'll see I guess. I am not "for" SGI in this, but I just wanted to point out that their devices were extraordinary at the time.

I remember back in the late 90's a professor of mine buying an upgraded framebuffer board for his SGI Indy 2 ( I think it was that one ) with a sticker price of ~$1500. And that was after a price drop!
post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by uplate View Post

http://www.patents.com/us-6816145.html

Maybe i'm missing something... does anyone see a claim here that is inventive and not just standard LCD monitor technology + the super-awesome 1024x1600 ratio?

I agree. I was reading the same claim. Same conclusion.

It is a ridiculous joke. The main claim is a wide screen monitor with about 1.6:1 aspect ratio.

Then there are a bunch of ancilliary claims that are wide screen monitor in the main claim, that have amazing things like a "Height adjustable stand" or IPS LCD for wide viewing angles.

But really the patent boils down to. Hey looks they are small LCD in laptops invented by other people. Lets patent the idea of bigger/wider ones.

That isn't an invention. It is ridiculous nonsense that patents like this get granted.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by uplate View Post

http://www.patents.com/us-6816145.html

Maybe i'm missing something... does anyone see a claim here that is inventive and not just standard LCD monitor technology + the super-awesome 1024x1600 ratio?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

I agree. I was reading the same claim. Same conclusion.

It is a ridiculous joke. The main claim is a wide screen monitor with about 1.6:1 aspect ratio.

Then there are a bunch of ancilliary claims that are wide screen monitor in the main claim, that have amazing things like a "Height adjustable stand" or IPS LCD for wide viewing angles.

But really the patent boils down to. Hey looks they are small LCD in laptops invented by other people. Lets patent the idea of bigger/wider ones.

That isn't an invention. It is ridiculous nonsense that patents like this get granted.

This proves my point. Even with the claims in front of you, you still keep saying it's all about a wide screen monitor. Here's the actual claim:
Quote:
1. A monitor comprising: a large area wide aspect ratio liquid crystal flat panel display screen, said large area wide aspect ratio liquid crystal flat panel display screen having a liquid crystal layer, said large area wide aspect ratio liquid crystal flat panel display screen including optical compensation film for providing increased off axis angle viewing capability in both the vertical and horizontal directions, said large area wide aspect ratio liquid crystal flat panel display screen including a brightness enhancement layer operable to re-direct light radiating at extreme angles in order to increase light to said liquid crystal layer, said large area wide aspect ratio liquid crystal flat panel display screen including a first light pipe operable to illuminate said liquid crystal layer, said large area wide aspect ratio liquid crystal flat panel display screen having an air gap disposed between said brightness enhancement layer and said optical compensation film with said brightness enhancement layer being disposed between said first light pipe and said air gap; and electronic circuitry for receiving signals from a digital computer system and for driving said large area wide aspect ratio liquid crystal flat panel display screen.

Note that a few of the things that are required for the claim to be valid are highlighted. It's not just a wide screen.

Now, if you can show that all of those things were standard in 1998 when they applied for this patent, feel free to do so. If that's the case, Apple won't have any problem winning. OTOH, maybe some of it really WAS novel at the time they filed in which case Apple may have to license it.
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post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by knightlie View Post

Apparently they patented floating point numbers in graphics, too. It's just unbelievable.

I remember using some SGI stuff in the mid 90's. Dude, it was light years ahead of everything. The quality of the flight sims were stunning. The UI was heavy with real time 3D effects that still remind me of SiFi.

Given SGI's involvement in OpenGL, these patents may very well represent some of the original art behind what we see as common place today. Sad to see SGI like this. A once great company with Kick a$$ hardware.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

This proves my point. Even with the claims in front of you, you still keep saying it's all about a wide screen monitor. Here's the actual claim:


Note that a few of the things that are required for the claim to be valid are highlighted. It's not just a wide screen.

Now, if you can show that all of those things were standard in 1998 when they applied for this patent, feel free to do so. If that's the case, Apple won't have any problem winning. OTOH, maybe some of it really WAS novel at the time they filed in which case Apple may have to license it.

What part of any of that didn't already exist? LCDs didn't already have electronic circuitry to recieve signals from a computer? Optical compensation films were common, I see hundreds if not thousands of patents on them, note they make no claims about inventing such. Just another obvious addition to their "invention". The main claim also states dual color light sources, which are not used in LG monitors that Apple uses. The only remaining novel part of claim 1 is "wide aspect ratio".

It boils down to this claim being just as baseless as it first appears, just with standard patent bafflegab used to cloak it's insignificance.

Also, If this is about the construction techniques of LCD panels. Shouldn't they be suing companies that actually build LCD panels?

It really doesn't make sense that you would sue Apple for the intricacies of LCD construction when Apple doesn't build LCD panels and has no knowledge of such.
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bancho View Post

That's golden.

The Golden Aspect Ratio?

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post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I really yearn for the days when people who don't know what they're talking about will keep their mouths shut until they know something.

You can't simply read the title and pretend to know what the patent is about. You have to read the claims - and then interpret the claims exactly as they are written.

Alright your a jack ass. You try to insult others just because they are trying to understand. If your such a guru then you explain it to us jack ass.
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post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

I remember using some SGI stuff in the mid 90's. Dude, it was light years ahead of everything. The quality of the flight sims were stunning. The UI was heavy with real time 3D effects that still remind me of SiFi.

Given SGI's involvement in OpenGL, these patents may very well represent some of the original art behind what we see as common place today. Sad to see SGI like this. A once great company with Kick a$$ hardware.

Look at Nvidia. That's where all the talent went and they seem to be trying hard to recreate the same success to ruin story.
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post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bancho View Post

That's golden.

Nicely done.
post #23 of 35
Anybody who worked with high end drum scanners in the late '80s-early '90s will remember that the German company Hell had patented... angles.
In the quadrichromy process, where you superimpose four screen prints in the primitive colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black, it is very easy to get ugly artifacts, and there is a specific set of angle values that is optimal for this job. Hell patented these angles, and they would go after any company that attempted to use them for their separation and screening equipment (we're talking about very expensive scanners and film recorders that filled up an entire room and cost hundreds of thousands of 1990 dollars, major capital investments).
post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordJohnWhorfin View Post

Anybody who worked with high end drum scanners in the late '80s-early '90s will remember that the German company Hell had patented... angles.

Hell's Angles.
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

What part of any of that didn't already exist? LCDs didn't already have electronic circuitry to recieve signals from a computer? Optical compensation films were common, I see hundreds if not thousands of patents on them, note they make no claims about inventing such. Just another obvious addition to their "invention". The main claim also states dual color light sources, which are not used in LG monitors that Apple uses. The only remaining novel part of claim 1 is "wide aspect ratio".

It boils down to this claim being just as baseless as it first appears, just with standard patent bafflegab used to cloak it's insignificance.

Also, If this is about the construction techniques of LCD panels. Shouldn't they be suing companies that actually build LCD panels?

It really doesn't make sense that you would sue Apple for the intricacies of LCD construction when Apple doesn't build LCD panels and has no knowledge of such.

Sorry, but I was older than 3 in 1998 so I remember what LCD monitors looked like. Please provide the detailed specs of a 1998 monitor that meets the design criteria of this patent.
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post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Sorry, but I was older than 3 in 1998 so I remember what LCD monitors looked like. Please provide the detailed specs of a 1998 monitor that meets the design criteria of this patent.

I was older than 23 in 1998, but I don't know what that is supposed to do with anything.

But here is a Sharp design PDF from 1997:

sharp-world.com/corporate/info/rd/tj1/pdf/5.pdf

"very-wide-viewing-angle (Super-VA) technology achieved by simulating and optimizing the optical parameters of LCD cells and optical compensating layers in this TFT-LCD. "

So great defender of Bogus patents. I would like you to step up and provide detailed specs of an Apple monitor to show infringement of any remaining claims you consider valid.

This is a bogus patent, simply a wide screen extrapolation of available 1997 technology.
post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog65 View Post

"very-wide-viewing-angle (Super-VA) technology achieved by simulating and optimizing the optical parameters of LCD cells and optical compensating layers in this TFT-LCD. "

So great defender of Bogus patents. I would like you to step up and provide detailed specs of an Apple monitor to show infringement of any remaining claims you consider valid.

This is a bogus patent, simply a wide screen extrapolation of available 1997 technology.

So you've judged a patent by its title. Way to go, Einstein*.


* Irony.

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post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

I remember using some SGI stuff in the mid 90's. Dude, it was light years ahead of everything. The quality of the flight sims were stunning. The UI was heavy with real time 3D effects that still remind me of SiFi.

Given SGI's involvement in OpenGL, these patents may very well represent some of the original art behind what we see as common place today. Sad to see SGI like this. A once great company with Kick a$$ hardware.

SGI was the only game in town for Hollywood special effects at the time. They were running their own flavor of UNIX. Talk about expensive? Hollywood was about the only people who could afford the machines or the software. The rest of the UNIX machines at the time, mostly used in engineering, were Sun Sparc.

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post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

So you've judged a patent by its title. Way to go, Einstein*.

Your superficial attack overlooks that we are discussing the content of the actual patent. I read many of the details before making any comment.

Have you?
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

Sad to see SGI like this. A once great company with Kick a$$ hardware.

For the record, it is not SGI who is suing Apple. Most of the assets of Silicon Graphics Inc were acquired by Rackable Systems in 2009. The new company is Silicon Graphics International, but pretty much just goes by "SGI" these days.
post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPiFF View Post

For the record, it is not SGI who is suing Apple. Most of the assets of Silicon Graphics Inc were acquired by Rackable Systems in 2009. The new company is Silicon Graphics International, but pretty much just goes by "SGI" these days.

Is it too soon to add Graphics Properties Holdings Inc. to the enemies list?
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Is it too soon to add Graphics Properties Holdings Inc. to the enemies list?

Its never too soon to add a company to the list of enemies of Apple, at least not here.
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post #33 of 35
Good luck with the patent on a "wide-screen high resolution display". If they manage to win that one, it will become one of the world's richest companies.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

I remember using some SGI stuff in the mid 90's. Dude, it was light years ahead of everything. The quality of the flight sims were stunning. The UI was heavy with real time 3D effects that still remind me of SiFi.

Given SGI's involvement in OpenGL, these patents may very well represent some of the original art behind what we see as common place today. Sad to see SGI like this. A once great company with Kick a$$ hardware.

I too was blown away by SGI back in the 90's. But in the past 10 years... Well, it is sad to see indeed a "once great company" devolve. The "innovator's dilemma" really hits hard in North America for hardware tech companies. AMD, ATI, Nvidia, IBM's chip division, HP, Compaq, RIM, Motorola, SGI, Palm, Microsoft (arguable how much they "innovated" but remember Windows CE was quite dominant at one point).
post #35 of 35
Its a case of having one good idea with legs doesn't mean you have a series of good ideas that continue over the long term.

The innovators dilemma is a fallacy that requires belief in a restricted, static world to make any sense. If you realize that one good idea with legs will carry you for awhile, but you better have the ability as an organization to come up with another good idea and not kill it because it does't look like the first idea, you can see what separates innovative companies, from flash in the pan companies that leverage one innovation.

just look at Kodak, their great idea, photo paper products (admittedly an almost 100 year good idea), is ending up killing them because they didn't realize they should't be a continue to only be a photo paper company, they should have been a memories or images company. Then the photo paper side of the house wouldn't have been able to strangle the digital imaging side until the company as a whole became irrelevant.
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