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Google, Apple sued over Street View mapping tech

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
Both Google and Apple are facing a lawsuit that alleges the internet giant's Street View map feature, which is built into certain iOS devices, infringes on prior art regarding interactive mapping technology, and is the newest suit in a seemingly endless string of technology patent litigation.

In a complaint filed on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Florida-based company PanoMap Technologies, LLC. claims that Apple's use of Google Maps' Street View in the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch infringes on an existing patent that describes a similar form of image-based navigation, reports Paid Content.

PanoMap is asserting , titled "Interactive system for displaying detailed view and direction in panoramic images," and is seeking triple damages from the two tech giants on claims that they had knowledge of the patent before infringing upon it.

Originally, the '529 patent was issued to developer Jerry Jongerius in 2003 and subsequently transferred to a shell company called Empire IP in 2011. Finally, PanoMap acquired the patent rights earlier in February.

Google's Street View feature is a close fit to the patent as described in the filing's abstract:
Quote:
A method and system for indicating the camera position, direction, and field of view in a map or panoramic image comprises a map image window which displays a map or panoramic image of the site to be studied (house, apartment, city, etc.). A detailed view window displays a portion of the map image, taken from a point in the site. A highlighted sector in the map image represents the viewing position, direction, and field of view that the detailed view window displays. When the user changes the field of view in the detailed view window, the highlighted sector in the map image changes in synchronism. The resulting interactive windows allow a person to easily and quickly view and understand the field of view, position, and direction of the image being displayed in the detail view window.

PanoMap, which has no address and looks to be merely a patent holdings firm, alleges that Google included the '529 patent as prior art when it applied for two Street View patents, one in 2008 and another in 2009.

Going further, PanoMap claims that Apple visited Jongerius' website Duckware.com on July 8, 2007. The site advertises and licenses a panoramic image viewing application "PMVR" which supposedly shows "embodiments of the inventions claimed by the '529 patent."

PanoMap v Apple


Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch all come pre-loaded with a Maps app that is powered by Google Maps and thus has Street View as part of its feature set. Devices running Google's own Android platform offer identical functionality, however they are not mentioned in the suit.

In the iOS implementation that was first introduced to the platform in 2008, Street View allows users to zoom in from the traditional overhead map view and navigate by moving through a series of photographs of a given location.


Google Street View running on iPad. | Source: Apple


The system was first introduced by Google in 2007 with support for a select number cities, and has since expanded to include many major metropolitan areas around the world. To create Street View, Google used cars special panoramic cameras and geo-location gear to gather imagery that was later stored and synced with GPS mapping data.

Interestingly, the PanoMap name is tied a laser scanning trademark belonging to Atlanta company Construction System Associates. A representative from CSA said that the company is not involved in the lawsuit against Google and Apple.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 67
If there was ever better incentive to put your three mapping companies to use, Apple, it's lawsuits directed at Google that get you swept up because you use their stuff.

*hands raise in defense*

"Hey, we don't know what you're talking about. Clearly we use our own maps, not Google's. Your fight's with them."
post #3 of 67
"a seemingly endless string of technology patent litigation

It does SEEM endless sometimes, but thats an exaggeration.

In reality, eventually the Earth and its patents will be consumed by the dying Sun, following which any extraterrestrial human colonies will eventually die out as new star formation ends due to the expanding universe slowly cooling over many trillions of years.
post #4 of 67
It's real simple. Stop the patent trolls! A way has to be found to stop these extortionists.
post #5 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

If there was ever better incentive to put your three mapping companies to use, Apple, it's lawsuits directed at Google that get you swept up because you use their stuff.

*hands raise in defense*

"Hey, we don't know what you're talking about. Clearly we use our own maps, not Google's. Your fight's with them."

That was my first reaction. Time to take the wraps of that SAAB technology.
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Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
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post #6 of 67
In my experience, lawsuits are often filed in the shotgun method, where any and all conpanies that can be tied, howeve loosely, to the suit are targeted, especially those with money.

My first reaction was, why Apple? But the presence of Google Maps as a core iOS app not only harkens back to the day when Apple and Google were friends, but it does tie Apple pretty close (not that I endorse or agree with the lawsuit).
post #7 of 67
Man has idea, man patents idea, some other man ahs same idea, actually implements it, first man sues second man for being better than him.
post #8 of 67
I really think the patent system needs to conform to a "use it or lose it" paradigm. It is ridiculous that people have an idea, patent it, and then do nothing with it but extort money out of others who are actually implementing the idea and potential have another/similar patent. All patents that are not active should be set in a pool with market-determined rates for license. This would ensure that humanity moves forward and innovates, companies or individuals who invent and implement an idea are rewarded and protected, and trolls go bye bye. Of course there would be a period of time you have to do something with the patent from the time of the filing (say a year)

Thoughts?
post #9 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

In my experience, lawsuits are often filed in the shotgun method, where any and all conpanies that can be tied, howeve loosely, to the suit are targeted, especially those with money.

My first reaction was, why Apple? But the presence of Google Maps as a core iOS app not only harkens back to the day when Apple and Google were friends, but it does tie Apple pretty close (not that I endorse or agree with the lawsuit).

I want some of what you're smoking.
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

If there was ever better incentive to put your three mapping companies to use, Apple, it's lawsuits directed at Google that get you swept up because you use their stuff.

*hands raise in defense*

"Hey, we don't know what you're talking about. Clearly we use our own maps, not Google's. Your fight's with them."

The Map app was written by Apple not Google. Even if Apple swapped out the Google map data they'd probably still be targeted.
post #11 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

I really think the patent system needs to conform to a "use it or lose it" paradigm. It is ridiculous that people have an idea, patent it, and then do nothing with it but extort money out of others who are actually implementing the idea and potential have another/similar patent. All patents that are not active should be set in a pool with market-determined rates for license. This would ensure that humanity moves forward and innovates, companies or individuals who invent and implement an idea are rewarded and protected, and trolls go bye bye. Of course there would be a period of time you have to do something with the patent from the time of the filing (say a year)

Thoughts?

If I patented something like automobile wipers that could be operated in an interuptable manor to clear light mist off a windshield, I may not be able to "ues" it as you say I must. However, I have patented it so I could go market it to automakers without fear that they would rip off my idea and use it without paying me royalties.
So, in the "use it or lose it" mindset, there is no reason for an independent inventor to patent anything.

However, to sit silently on a patent once it is worldwide knowledge that Google is doing a streetview similar thing to your patent, and then show up years later asking for triple damages is just wrong.

Additionally to include Apple in the suit and not the 36 Android phone manufacturers is also wrong.

This only shows that anybody can sue anyone over anything. Winning is another matter,
Also this shows that where there is assets to be won, suits will be made. Hardly ever is a bankrupt company sued.
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #12 of 67
Does anybody have UpNext maps on their iPad?

I find the 3D buildings and landmarks in that app to be pretty cool and the way that you can zoom in and out in full 3d is nice and it's a bit different than Google Maps. It's also pretty smooth, at least on the iPad 2.

It doesn't have a lot of cities included yet, but luckily, mine was included.
post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

The Map app was written by Apple not Google. Even if Apple swapped out the Google map data they'd probably still be targeted.

Not if the new system doesn't have a street view.
post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

The Map app was written by Apple not Google. Even if Apple swapped out the Google map data they'd probably still be targeted.

If Apple bought the streetview data from Google for inclusion into their app, then Apple is still off the hook, because they did not steal. Only Google could be selling what they might not own.

The fact that someone at Apple visited the PanoMap site, doesn't mean Apple has knowledge of PanoMap's patent, it only means Apple was shopping for a google-alternate source for streetview data and found PanoMap lacking.

PanoMap is a troll for waiting until this late to demand damages, especially from Apple.
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Not if the new system doesn't have a street view.

I'm not convinced that removing features thereby making the map app worse is a good thing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

If Apple bought the streetview data from Google for inclusion into their app, then Apple is still off the hook, because they did not steal. Only Google could be selling what they might not own.

Except the problem is not the streetview data. The issue is the mini map at the botom of the screen that shows where you are, which way you are pointing and the field of view. This is implemented by Apple (it looks different to the version on the Google Maps webpage).
post #16 of 67
As if Apple doesn't have an indemnity clause for any integrated Google services.

Better luck next time!
post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

It's real simple. Stop the patent trolls! A way has to be found to stop these extortionists.

Honour the patent holder in the first place?
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post #18 of 67
Of all the patent trolls we've seen this one looks to have the strongest case from what I can see.

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post #19 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

I'm not convinced that removing features thereby making the map app worse is a good thing.

I'm not saying that removing something as comprehensive as Street View intends to be is a good thing, I'm just saying that I don't remember reading anything about Apple's mapping companies that says they have anything comparable to it.

And you haven't seen what companies Apple bought if you think for a second that moving to them would be making Maps "worse".
post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

"a seemingly endless string of technology patent litigation

It does SEEM endless sometimes, but thats an exaggeration.

In reality, eventually the Earth and its patents will be consumed by the dying Sun, following which any extraterrestrial human colonies will eventually die out as new star formation ends due to the expanding universe slowly cooling over many trillions of years.

Good point. Forget everything that was said...ever.
post #21 of 67
Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch all come pre-loaded with a Maps app that is powered by Google Maps and thus has Street View as part of its feature set. Devices running Google's own Android platform offer identical functionality, however they are not mentioned in the suit.
post #22 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

It's real simple. Stop the patent trolls! A way has to be found to stop these extortionists.

If you don't like patents, go live somewhere that doesn't have a patent law, like Iran or Iraq. There is nothing wrong with an inventor exercising his or her rights to a patent. What's the point of giving an inventor a patent if they can't sue an infringer? The whole point of the patent system is that the first person to invent gets to "tax" or "exclude" anyone else.

There is nothing preventing Google and Apple from stopping their infringing activities. The patent is poorly written, but from what I can tell, the claims require moving the vantage point of the map and simultaneously indicating the direction of the movement of the map (i.e., an arrow overlay). Google should either show that the patent is invalid, design around, or pay up. Google shouldn't be able to make billions of dollars of profit per month and just ignore all the owners of the intellectual property it is using.

Just because Google has a lot of market power doesn't mean that they know how to invent or are the first ones to invent. Do we let a grade school bully take a little kids money just because he is bigger? Why would we do that to a small inventor.
post #23 of 67
Meh. These patent suits will be settled one way or another, with a payment from Apple, a purchase of the patent in question, or a workaround. Not a big concern.

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GOA

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post #24 of 67
A little late in the game don't you think?
post #25 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

Man has idea, man patents idea, some other man ahs same idea, actually implements it, first man sues second man for being better than him.

The first man doesn't sue for being "better than him". He sues for being the "inventor" and the first in time to disclose the invention to the public and apply for a patent.

Google should have invented this first or not included the technology in their software or they should take it out. No one is forcing them to infringe the patent. Pay up or take it out.
post #26 of 67
Does this law suit mean that any concepts such as Virtual Reality or Simulators are also patentable? And is it the implementation or the concept that is patentable?
post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Meh. These patent suits will be settled one way or another, with a payment from Apple, a purchase of the patent in question, or a workaround. Not a big concern.

Exactly! It isn't a big concern. However, patents is what drives our economy. The ability to obtain patents creates a continual threat to big companies like Google which makes them invent and prevents them from sitting on their laurels and using their market power and wealth to stifle competition.

It amazes me how much people defend big companies as though they are poor souls getting pestered by patent owners. I've worked for and with big companies in regards to intellectual property and trust me, big companies do not have the consumer's interests in mind, nor do they want what is best for the economy, or for technology. Big companies what one thing: MAINTAIN MARKET SHARE. The only reason companies innovate is because they have to because of the patent system. If you take away the patent system and all these "pesky" patent owners, the innovation machine comes to a screeching halt and big companies will use their political power and market power to keep out the competition and they will only advance the technology if they feel like it. (hint: usually they don't feel like it). If you don't believe me, go investigate industries that were developed in the 1800s like the cement industry and railroads. They are monopolistic, non-innovative, good 'ol boys clubs that can't be forced to do anything they don't want to.
post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

I really think the patent system needs to conform to a "use it or lose it" paradigm. It is ridiculous that people have an idea, patent it, and then do nothing with it but extort money out of others who are actually implementing the idea and potential have another/similar patent. All patents that are not active should be set in a pool with market-determined rates for license. This would ensure that humanity moves forward and innovates, companies or individuals who invent and implement an idea are rewarded and protected, and trolls go bye bye. Of course there would be a period of time you have to do something with the patent from the time of the filing (say a year)

Thoughts?

The patent is a reward for inventing. Selling products has nothing to do with inventing. The right of a patent is always granted to the inventor, not a seller. This is true whether you are Google or a small inventor. The engineers at Google that invent don't sell and the people that sell don't invent (usually). Why should the inventor's at Google get special treatment because there is a marketing department down the hall that sells their products?

At the end of the day, Google is choosing to sell products in a rapidly developing market and it knows or should know that there are high risks that its products will infringe other people's patents. It should expect to have to fight those battles and pay out when it loses. What's wrong with that? The patent system is an innovation tax that goes to encourage people to innovate. Who better to tax than Google for making billions of dollars using other peoples' intellectual property.

So far it is working out pretty well for everyone. Google, Apple, the inventors, the investors, the government, the lawyers, and everyone else supporting this ecosystem are all making out like bandits. Only a fool would suggest this is a bad thing or that we should change it. One of the reasons I really like Apple is that they embrace the patent system and innovate even though they are the big guys. That is rare in a big company and actually makes Apple very dangerous to its competitors (and is why I own Apple stock and follow this website)
post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Of all the patent trolls we've seen this one looks to have the strongest case from what I can see.

I know everyone uses the term "troll" tongue in cheek. However, it really is a derogatory term that should be avoided unless the entity really is a troll. I don't think we have facts that support an allegation that this patentee is a troll. A troll is someone that extracts a small fee by using unjustified threats. (e.g., an Ogre threatening bodily harm and taking money in exchange for safety) If a patent owner brings a legitimate claim of infringement, it isn't trolling. It isn't trolling so long as the value extracted is reflected in the increased benefit to the the product, not the value of avoiding legal fees. In contrast, a troll is someone that has a patent of no value or an invalid patent or a patent that does not read on the product but nevertheless the patent owner sues to extract nuisance value. Such lawsuits usually settle in the tens of thousands or low hundred thousands.

The mapping lawsuit isn't going to settle for nuisance value. The parties are going to go through discovery and find out how much the invention is worth and the patentee will take a certain cut of that. That's fair play if you ask me.
post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

I know everyone uses the term "troll" tongue in cheek. However, it really is a derogatory term that should be avoided unless the entity really is a troll. I don't think we have facts that support an allegation that this patentee is a troll. A troll is someone that extracts a small fee by using unjustified threats. (e.g., an Ogre taking money for someone to pass the bridge or the Ogre will hurt them). If a patent owner brings a legitimate claim of infringement, it isn't trolling. It isn't trolling if the value being extracted is the value of the claimed invention. In contrast, a troll is someone that has a patent of no value or an invalid patent and uses the threat of lawsuit to extract a settlement. Such lawsuits usually settle in the tens of thousands. This lawsuit isn't going to settle for nuisance value. The parties are going to go through discovery and find out how much it is worth and the patentee will take a certain cut of that. That's fair play if you ask me.

You have a point but the definition does seem to be shifting to those that hold patents with no intention of using them. Instead their goal is for someone else to "cross their bridge" so to speak so they can then use their patent to extract money from them. There is nothing illegal about this and there is no use in suing someone when you have a clearly invalid patent.

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post #31 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post

Does this law suit mean that any concepts such as Virtual Reality or Simulators are also patentable? And is it the implementation or the concept that is patentable?

If you want to know what is patented, read the claims of the patent (they come after the disclosure and are numbered).

To answer your question, no, you can't get a patent on a "concept" or an "implementation." You get a patent on an "invention." The invention can be a method, a composition of matter, a machine or apparatus, a method of manufacture, a method of use, a method of treatment, a computer program products, etc.
post #32 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

You have a point but the definition does seem to be shifting to those that hold patents with no intention of using them. Instead their goal is for someone else to "cross their bridge" so to speak so they can then use their patent to extract money from them. There is nothing illegal about this and there is no use in suing someone when you have a clearly invalid patent.

My point is that everyone should take a step back and ask themselves what is wrong with people getting patents for the purpose of extracting value out of whoever sells the product? Why should someone with market share not have to pay a tax to those that conceived of the invention first and disclosed it in a patent application first?

Patents are the great equalizers of technology. The beauty of the patent system is that you don't have to be rich or entrenched in a market to be the innovator. You have to be the first to think of it and disclose it. Those rules have served our country very well for over two hundred years.

There is a lot of evidence that suggests the patent system drives innovation. There are virtually no countries with weak patent systems that are market leaders in innovation. The countries that don't respect IP are countries like Iraq, Iran, Venezuela. Recently in China we have seen innovation grow hand in hand with the development of the patent system. China's innovative output correlates very closely with its recent developments in its patent system. They went from almost nothing in 2000 to a moderately healthy lP system in 2012 and innovative output from China has done the same.

If anything, it surprises me that small inventors are so good at developing technology that big companies should have seen coming but didn't. It is mind boggling that Google with all its resources and tens of thousands of engineers and lawyers gets beat ALL THE TIME by people that know little about Google's business. Sometimes it takes someone outside the system to see where the system should go next. Isn't that a good thing to have a system that will reward those that push technology in that direction?

Another important facet of patents is that they can provide protection for a more efficient system to displace old technology. Without patents, a new technology might not make it to market because an entrenched company will use the same technology to undercut the price. The new technology might never take hold even if it is more efficient because the entrenched player may have investments in the current system and doesn't want those investments to go bad.

With regard to trolling, I would argue that extracting money out of patents isn't trolling because there is a lot of value in creating competition and forcing industry to disclose and innovate as fast as possible. The threat of someone disclosing Google's next core technology 6 months before Google does is the very thing that makes Google produce their products now instead of six months later. That threat has a lot of value to the general public and to our economy and is a fundamental reason why the term "troll" is totally unjustified to describe a non-practicing entity (so long as the patent has a reasonable chance of being valid and infringed).
post #33 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

The patent is a reward for inventing. Selling products has nothing to do with inventing. The right of a patent is always granted to the inventor, not a seller....

So if you put an ape in front of a keyboard, and I mean full time, then eventually he will be a big money making machine for all the ideas that he spews, although absolutely nothing has been implemented.

In my view, the inventor may not have to sell it, but he should be able to produce a working prototype, to prove its feasibility. If it requires the presence of an as yet unexisting data source he should provide at least a minimal simulation.

Maybe the inventor should have a limited time of protection for the idea itself, but if proof hasn't been produced by a certain deadline, he should lose some of his rights. Maybe the patent should then be demoted to less than FRAND.
post #34 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

Google should either show that the patent is invalid, design around, or pay up. Google shouldn't be able to make billions of dollars of profit per month and just ignore all the owners of the intellectual property it is using.

Just because Google has a lot of market power doesn't mean that they know how to invent or are the first ones to invent. Do we let a grade school bully take a little kids money just because he is bigger? Why would we do that to a small inventor.

That has been Google's modus operandi for the last several years, why should they change course now? If you can't innovate, steal, and then battle it out in court. Just ask Apple, Oracle, book authors, record companies, etc.
post #35 of 67
I just want to chime in a bit on the troll/not troll thoughts.

You ever tried to take an invention through the process of idea, to design, to patent, to product? It is not exactly easy or cheap.

Most people with an innovation aren't giant multi-nationals. Some have enough resource (as in selling their home) to pay for the patent, most do not even have that. Most of them aren't super marketing or business people to even get their head around venture capital, least be believed. And to be fair nearly all of them are a bit scared of it being stolen and so don't even want to go to people for money.

Out of all those the few that actually took it to the level of patenting and in the process hocked most or all they owned ended up where? Broke, either to the point of not being able to defend the patent or more likely beyond that and had to sell the patent just to keep their lives together, albeit sad and a bit broken.

So some company buys it up, then someone else. In the end multi-national finally has a clue years later and "comes up with it", probably an evolutionary tech step for them. But 10-20 years ago when that dude had the idea, it actually was revolutionary and worthy of a patent.

Do I agree that the third company without an inventive clue who bought it now sues. I don't know, it is sad that the nobody who had an illuminated moment will probably get nothing, I mean we never hear from them. They just see it on the news, maybe have a cry, shake a fist, drink a beer, tell someone who doesn't believe them.

These law suits come from the very few who could even patent. If you don't have even that kind of moolah then you just buy the thing when it finally comes out and shrug at what they didn't figure out while finally having a half baked version of the idea 20years later.

I'd say what is sad and needs fixing is not so much the patent system but the very high walled and guarded freedom of even having an idea heard and honoured.
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post #36 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

If there was ever better incentive to put your three mapping companies to use, Apple, it's lawsuits directed at Google that get you swept up because you use their stuff.

*hands raise in defense*

"Hey, we don't know what you're talking about. Clearly we use our own maps, not Google's. Your fight's with them."

Must get more of the data centers ready to go while offloading this stuff to Akamai before hand.
post #37 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

The Map app was written by Apple not Google. Even if Apple swapped out the Google map data they'd probably still be targeted.

The Apple Maps application is like any other application or web app in that it works via the use of and is covered by the license of the Google Maps API.

All Apple need do is drop/block the street view portion of the API.
post #38 of 67
Next up: Apple - Google - Microsoft - sued for creating products!
post #39 of 67
Anybody that uses a UPS Store for an address is a troll.
post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Going further, PanoMap claims that Apple visited Jongerius' website Duckware.com on July 8, 2007. The site advertises and licenses a panoramic image viewing application "PMVR" which supposedly shows "embodiments of the inventions claimed by the '529 patent."

So what they're really saying is: You're not allowed to window shop when you're building any product. Because visual inspection is all it takes to steal a patent-worthy idea.

By this logic, every car-maker in the world should be sued out of existence for stealing designs, and i'm sure every electronics company that buys competitors products to study would be going nuts as well.
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