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Apple's interface held to the fire in dubious suit

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
An Illinois-based company and its Nevada partner have filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc., alleging that Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" treads on an interface patent that affects the operating system's nearly universal use of tabs.

Little-known intellectual property agency IP Innovation LLC and its parent Technology Licensing Corporation this week became the latest to claim that Apple had abused a patent they hold.

Filed April 18th in a US district court in Marshall, Texas -- a town frequently recognized as the preferred home for lawsuits by companies that hoard property claims -- the four-page formal complaint purports that Apple has engaged in "willful and deliberate" infringement of a computer control patent by selling its current Tiger operating system.

IP Innovation is demanding a jury trial and asks for reparations for perceived damages which "exceed $20 million," according to the suit. It also seeks an injunction that would prevent the California-based defendant from infringing on the patent, essentially blocking Apple from continuing to sell its current edition of Mac OS X and any future editions that might draw on the supposed infringements.

The reported violation is an exceptionally specific one. It refers to a single US Patent Office filing originally made by Xerox researchers for a "User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects" -- and, in turn, a lone claim within that patent.

The disputed section refers to the technique of creating a window on a computer's screen with controls that switch between views of multiple associated display objects within the window, erasing one view as the user selects another while still giving a spatial frame of reference and the same general interface during the switch.

While IP Innovation doesn't refer to any one feature of the Mac OS as copying the interface technique, the central claim may potentially apply to any of several approaches to navigating software used by Apple in Finder and its companion program. Category dividers triggered by Spotlight searches, as well as page tabs in the Safari web browser, bear the closest similarity to the now 20-year-old description.

Apple's Spaces virtual desktop feature set to arrive in Mac OS X Leopard would not be affected by the conditions of the immediate lawsuit.

Numerous questions remain unanswered in the legal motion and the associated patent, including subjects of prior art, ownership, and timing. Originally filed in 1987, the patent was last updated in December of 1991 with Xerox as the lone corporate owner -- nearly 14 years before the allegedly infringing software was released. The plaintiff in the new case has also chosen to make its case almost exactly two years after Tiger's April 2005 introduction and just months before the projected October release of Leopard, which should phase Tiger out of the market.

Regardless of the individual merits of the case, Apple has so far chosen to remain silent on the matter after having received notice of the impending court case earlier this week.
post #2 of 81
No link to said patent?

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #3 of 81
One flew over the Cupertino nest?
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #4 of 81
Tabs.. give me a break. FireFox, IE7, etc... This really is ridiculous. Can we have someone patent the checkbox, radio button, and log in form too?
post #5 of 81
I like how AppleInsider posted the story on Fri. (its 5:59 here in Hawaii. 11:59 New York) and dates it as if it were Sat.
post #6 of 81
I am so sick of these g**damned gold-digging a**hole companies! I hope someone shoots the ****ers in front of the courthouse!
post #7 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wally View Post

I am so sick of these g**damned gold-digging a**hole companies! I hope someone shoots the ****ers in front of the courthouse!

Lol...
post #8 of 81
The patent system needs major reform. Software patents need to be stopped, and all current software patents should be nullified. Patents are supposed to encourage innovation, all software patents do is stiffle it.
post #9 of 81
Give me a break. Tiger has been out over a year and they're just *now* enforcing this so called patent? I don't think they'll win this one.
post #10 of 81
Ummm...doesn't Windows use tabs? Firefox? Almost every new piece of software coming out? Give me a break here, why does everyone come after Apple in these crazy stupid patent infringments?
post #11 of 81
Whew. Thank God.

Nearly ten minutes had gone by without a pack of lawyers trying to make a wad of cash off the success of others. I was beginning to worry the whole world had gone crazy!

But that ten minutes is over. I can relax now. Musta just been a fluke.
post #12 of 81
Apple took an idea that's 20 years old and probably never been used, and innovated on it. Apple didn't win against Microsoft so I don't see LLC winning anything.
post #13 of 81
I have to agree with the poster who is angered by frivilous lawsuits like this. It's so infuriating I cannot put it into words. "Yes, but they have the right to..." is what the defenders of so-called American Liberty claim as their basis to allow such foolishness to continue. But the fact is, we need to create a law to ban all "intellectual property companies." If you don't sell products or build a business around a patented idea, then you should have no claim in court. To exist or make most of your money simply from patenting a billion ideas should by no means be legalized. This is a huge failure of the US court system in general. Patents should serve to protect concepts inherent to ACTUAL PRODUCTS that are actively being sold, promoted and continuing to be improved in the marketplace.

As an Apple shareholder, I can only hope Apple can get themselves out of this mess by spending the least amount of money.
post #14 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow Slayer 26 View Post

Ummm...doesn't Windows use tabs? Firefox? Almost every new piece of software coming out? Give me a break here, why does everyone come after Apple in these crazy stupid patent infringments?

Oh, I suppose there's a chance Apple might have to settle with this company on this one... stranger things have happened. If the patent owner were to win, they'd probably file suit against every and all companies infringing.

I'm of two minds about this subject, since I believe that if Apple had a smart enough team of patent lawyers, and a team dedicated to acquiring and enforcing their own patents, they'd get in far fewer tussles with patent trolls.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #15 of 81
Cliveat5 is the best poster, he needs to shed some knowledge on this topic. Clive, are you listening? Shed some knowledge
-Maciver
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-Maciver
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post #16 of 81
I ain't sayin' it's a frivolous suit. But they ain't messin' with no broke fruit.
post #17 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wally View Post

I am so sick of these g**damned gold-digging a**hole companies! I hope someone shoots the ****ers in front of the courthouse!

I actually agree with you on this one. While they are at it, why not have a guy come out and say he patented the Shift key? I'd love to be on that jury; I'd happily tell the guy to go fsck himself! There has to be a limit to what people can claim. What about a guy claiming a patent on the scroll bar? How about one claiming infringement on the Quit command?
Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat
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Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat
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post #18 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

I have to agree with the poster who is angered by frivilous lawsuits like this. It's so infuriating I cannot put it into words. "Yes, but they have the right to..." is what the defenders of so-called American Liberty claim as their basis to allow such foolishness to continue. But the fact is, we need to create a law to ban all "intellectual property companies." If you don't sell products are build a business around a patented idea, then you should have no claim in court. To exist or make most of your money simply from patenting a billion ideas should by no means be legalized. This is a huge failure of the US court system in general. Patents should serve to protect concepts inherent to ACTUAL PRODUCTS that are actively being sold, promoted and continuing to be improved in the marketplace.

I could not agree with you more. If there is one thing I would stand up & fight for in this country, this has gotta be it. There is absolutely NO WAY IN HELL you should be able to patent an idea if you don't have a business around it. These companies should all be shut down. These IP companies are nothing more than a bunch of greedy motherfu**ers who suck the marrow out of other people's innovative ideas. Talk about trying to get a fu*king free ride. Absolutely infuriating.
post #19 of 81
If, on the verge of bankruptcy, there is one out. Sue someone.
post #20 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

I have to agree with the poster who is angered by frivilous lawsuits like this. It's so infuriating I cannot put it into words. "Yes, but they have the right to..." is what the defenders of so-called American Liberty claim as their basis to allow such foolishness to continue. But the fact is, we need to create a law to ban all "intellectual property companies." If you don't sell products or build a business around a patented idea, then you should have no claim in court. To exist or make most of your money simply from patenting a billion ideas should by no means be legalized. This is a huge failure of the US court system in general. Patents should serve to protect concepts inherent to ACTUAL PRODUCTS that are actively being sold, promoted and continuing to be improved in the marketplace.

As an Apple shareholder, I can only hope Apple can get themselves out of this mess by spending the least amount of money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

I could not agree with you more. If there is one thing I would stand up & fight for in this country, this has gotta be it. There is absolutely NO WAY IN HELL you should be able to patent an idea if you don't have a business around it. These companies should all be shut down. These IP companies are nothing more than a bunch of greedy motherfu**ers who suck the marrow out of other people's innovative ideas. Talk about trying to get a fu*king free ride. Absolutely infuriating.


Happy belated 4 20

I have got to agree with these to quotes even though I am totally Under the In and its 6:40 the next morning and I haven't slept but hey I can't sleep so why not start posting on Apple Insider lol.


Ok back to the article! I agree I am an entrepreneur or aspire to be a successful one and a business provides a service to it's customers and when I say service I mean retail, marketing, rental,... ect. I don't mean suing companies based on some patent that you came up with, Because that has nothing to do with business other than being a bitch **food break**.

No I understand that companies come up with ideas and another company may use it for their own, and a law suit in that case is understandable, but this company has no service or product with any relation to the patent it is just an intellectual property company. What do they do sue people as a service. Well maybe they do but I personally don't believe that a business that collects patents and sues other companies over them is a legitimate business. And lets just say thats what they are well like others brought up why are they not suing Microsoft, Fire Fox, Adium, and every other company under the sun? So what are they they are a bunch of dicks like my ex neighbor who moved in and sued everyone from other neighbors, to the previous house owners, to the golf corse across the street, but it came back to bite him in the ars because he went to jail for tax fraud evasion because people became so pissed they decided to poke around and dig up some dirt and turn him in in order to give him a big taste of the bull shit he has been slinging. So on one hand this company pisses me off because its not like it is even the programer suing instead it is an LLC so that way if they fuck up and lose or do some thing stupid it can't come back to the stupid owners of the business (which in most cases is good but in this case well I kinda want the owners of the IP LLC to get bit in the ass).

LOL That was a bit of a rant. and now its like 7:10 so I am going to head on over to facebook.

bbye!
post #21 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by bauch View Post

Give me a break. Tiger has been out over a year and they're just *now* enforcing this so called patent? I don't think they'll win this one.

Winning is not the objective. The objective is to get some money out of Apple. As with any corporation Apple's lawyers will look at the risks and the costs of litigation. Whether there's merit in the case is irrelevant. If it will cost more to litigate than to just pay some extortion money to the parasite that's suing them they'll pay the extortion money. My bet is Apple will give 'em a few million to buy the patents and make 'em go away. Companies don't spend money on ethical principals or to do what's right. It's all about the bottom line.

Yes we need patent law reform but tort and patent lawyers are a powerful lobby. They make their living by sucking blood out of the host victim. Again it's not about justice for their client, it's about making money from the situation.
post #22 of 81
If Apple settle with them for $20 million, with a license to use it in the future, and a requirement that the company sue other companies abusing the patent, then Apple could come out of it reasonably cheaply and know that Microsoft will also get hassled.

Yes, despite the claim being overly generic and stifling innovation, and the fact that damages should be based upon how much the patent holder loses because of the infringement (i.e., if you're a patent troll, you have no losses because you have no products) it is probably better for Apple to settle this one.

Unless they have solid proof of prior art - any form of tabbed interface should do. But the US patent office takes WAY TOO LONG to rule on prior art submissions for patents, and the law system doesn't allow for the patent to be reviewed by the patent office before ruling (hence why RIM had to pay NTP last year despite NTP's patents being crap). So a court case would not be to decide on the validity of the patent, but on whether it was violated or not. The system is broken, but the people who could fix it have a vested interest in it remaining broken.

This is a great example of why I hope that Europe never allows software patents.
post #23 of 81
Have to agree with people here, where have they been for the last 2 years?

In other news, I am getting fingers patented, so that anyone who uses fingers has to pay me to do so :P .
post #24 of 81
Don't you have to continually enforce your patent during it's lifetime, or it'll be declared invalid - like trademarks? Tabs have been used in Microsoft products since at least Windows 3.1, and probably in early Macs too... If they're only enforcing it after 20 years, I think they'd find it hard to make it stick.
post #25 of 81
The only thing more predictable than these frivolous law suits are the knee-jerk reactions from AppleInsider's "legal experts".

In other news, I am getting fingers patented, so that anyone who uses fingers has to pay me to do so :P .


That is so funny! And original!
post #26 of 81
Give it a rest, Wilco.

Is there a "statute of limitations" or comparable thing in patent cases? Don't they have to show that they have used the same patent within a certain period? (What was that stuff about the iPhone?) What does this tiny company do, anyway?

What modern software doesn't use tabs? Are they going to also claim a patent on the tabs in my file drawers (the physical ones)? (Yep, that was a knee-jerk response, but one someone is gonna want to ask.)

Can we get a link to said suit?

Haven't Macs had folders (and thus tab images) since 1983, predating said patent? If so, why the hell didn't Apple patent the idea? I agree with whoever above said that Apple sure could avoid a lot of messes if they would just open teir eyes and look where they are walking.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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post #27 of 81
I would think that this would affect Microsoft also. They are a much bigger target and can get them a whole lot more mula.

A 20 year old patent comes to light now, wow.
Most items being patented are obvious IMHO, the whole idea was that they not be obvious, to be truely original thinking. This kind of stuff is preventing further innovation. Companies have to do to much research when they have an idea to see if anyone patented the idea before they can go ahead and develop the idea. The mass of spagetty that represents the patents today are very vague and hard to find if they apply or not.

Clicking a section of the screen and having some other content painted over the content currently being shown is very basic and obvious. Not that much difference between a button and a tab.

I know, some of you like patents, I dont mind them if they are clear and cheap to research. What is the life of a patent today 50 years?

In the world of computing that is like 500 years. I started in the industry back in 72 and I can tell you that I have seen a hell of a lot of changes and inovation over the last 34 years. IMHO in electronic, software, computing and comunication hardware it makes no sense to grant patents with a life of more than 10-15 years. After that they totaly get in the way.
post #28 of 81
post #29 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post

Give it a rest, Wilco.

Is there a "statute of limitations" or comparable thing in patent cases? Don't they have to show that they have used the same patent within a certain period? (What was that stuff about the iPhone?) What does this tiny company do, anyway?

What modern software doesn't use tabs? Are they going to also claim a patent on the tabs in my file drawers (the physical ones)? (Yep, that was a knee-jerk response, but one someone is gonna want to ask.)

Can we get a link to said suit?

Haven't Macs had folders (and thus tab images) since 1983, predating said patent? If so, why the hell didn't Apple patent the idea? I agree with whoever above said that Apple sure could avoid a lot of messes if they would just open teir eyes and look where they are walking.

zzzzzzzzzz
post #30 of 81
Unless this patent is much more specific than the article says such that Apple uniquely violating it in some way, then yes, this should have been brought up so many years ago.

And if so, then why not against Microsoft? It's a bigger fish. Perhaps they think MS has too much money, and would fight them, but that Apple would cave easily, giving them at least some money rather than a long court battle? I would not be surprised if we soon see an announcement that Microsoft has taken a license from these people, setting it up for them to go after Apple with the goal being to shut down Tiger shipments for a while. This would also mean they could not ship any computers unless they put Windows on them. Like I said, this one smells fishy.

But maybe Apple can have the last laugh. Seems like they might have some legal traction with whatever agreement they had with Xerox back in 1979, that let them use some of the Xerox PARC innovations to develop a commercial product. Xerox later sued Apple about it and lost.
post #31 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilco View Post

zzzzzzzzzz

Are you actually attempting humor for a change? It's never too late...

---


Are other sites picking up on the lawsuit, yet?

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #32 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

No link to said patent?

Added.

-K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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post #33 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilco View Post

That is so funny! And original!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilco View Post

zzzzzzzzzz

Urmm, who crapped in your cornflakes this morning? Cheer up will ya.
post #34 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

An Illinois-based company and its Nevada partner have filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc., alleging that Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" treads on an interface patent that affects the operating system's nearly universal use of tabs....

Tabs? What "tabs"??? Would somebody enlighten me how Mac OS X Tiger makes use of tabs? Safari does, but this suit makes it sound like a system-wide thing, and I don't see tabs anywhere except in Safari. What are they talking about?
post #35 of 81
About a year ago Apple hired the chief legal counsel from IBM. This guy is good. His team will tear them apart.
DYK
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DYK
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post #36 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Apple took an idea that's 20 years old and probably never been used, and innovated on it. Apple didn't win against Microsoft so I don't see LLC winning anything.

Ummm you realize that while MS didn't "lose" they DID settle out of court. The "Look and feel" lawsuit was one reason that MS invested in Apple after the second coming of Steve.
post #37 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maciver View Post

Cliveat5 is the best poster, he needs to shed some knowledge on this topic. Clive, are you listening? Shed some knowledge

Wow, okay, I'm flattered. \

I don't have much to add to this conversation. I will say, however, that Apple's implementation of tabs isn't nearly as widespread as, say, Windows, or worse yet, the preferences for MS Word... three rows of tabs! Yikes! Thus I'd say that a victory for these cheapskates would mean a world of havoc for Microsoft.

In light of this, I almost hope they win... and decide to take on Big-Redmond.

-Clive
My Mod: G4 Cube + Atom 330 CPU + Wiimote = Ultimate HTPC!
(Might I recommend the Libertarian Party as a good compromise between the equally terrible "DnR"?)
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My Mod: G4 Cube + Atom 330 CPU + Wiimote = Ultimate HTPC!
(Might I recommend the Libertarian Party as a good compromise between the equally terrible "DnR"?)
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post #38 of 81
Stacks in Hypercard already presented uses for the tab style interface, though the real large scale use of tabs I believe came from Microsoft. I first remember seeing the use of tabs in Microsoft Windows and then in MS-Office. They were also present in MacOS 9.

There is this Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tab_%28GUI%29

which suggests that tabs were introduced by IBM in 1987, though was this before or after the filing of the patent? Either way software patents are too long for the speed at which the IT field is progressing.
post #39 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post

I know, some of you like patents, I dont mind them if they are clear and cheap to research. What is the life of a patent today 50 years?

A patent is good for 20 years from date of filing. The patent in question was filed March 25, 1987.
post #40 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by khamil5 View Post

Happy belated 4 20

I have got to agree with these to quotes even though I am totally Under the In and its 6:40 the next morning and I haven't slept but hey I can't sleep so why not start posting on Apple Insider lol.........................


LOL That was a bit of a rant. and now its like 7:10 so I am going to head on over to facebook.

bbye!



sounds like you celebrated properly. keep it up.
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