or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac OS X › Apple to license interface technology as part of settlement
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple to license interface technology as part of settlement

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Apple has reached an out-of-court settlement with little-known intellectual property agency IP Innovation LLC, which earlier this year alleged that the Mac maker's universal use of tabs in its Tiger operating system infringed on a 20-year old interface patent.

As part of the deal, Apple will licensing IP Innovation's graphic user interface technology, Acacia Research Corporation, the parent company of IP Innovations, said Friday. Terms of the deal were not made public.

IP Innovation on April 18th used a US district court in Marshall, Texas -- a town frequently recognized as the preferred home for lawsuits by companies that hoard property claims -- to file a four-page formal complaint to charge Apple with engaging in "willful and deliberate" infringement of a computer control patent by selling its current Tiger operating system.

The suit, which was reported by AppleInsider, sought perceived damages which "exceed $20 million" in addition to an injunction that would prevent the Cupertino-based Apple from selling its current edition of Mac OS X and any future editions that would draw on the supposed infringements.

The reported violation was an exceptionally specific one, referring to a single US Patent Office filing originally made by Xerox researchers for a "User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects."

The disputed section referred to the technique of creating a window on a computer 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.

The agreement between Apple and IP Innovation resolves all patent litigation that was pending in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas with respect to certain Apple products, Acacia Research Corporation said in a statment.
post #2 of 42
Wonder how much they got? I know it says they were asking for 20 million - but, as these things go, there is a difference (sometimes a big one) between what you want and get.
Report employers of illegal aliens at (866) DHS-2ICE
Reply
Report employers of illegal aliens at (866) DHS-2ICE
Reply
post #3 of 42
20 year old patent? I thought patentes were grated for up to 18 years. Anyone knows? Thanks.
post #4 of 42
Not just a matter of how much up front, but how much the licensing costs.

And everyone thought Apple was going to squash them.
post #5 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The suit, which was reported exclusively by AppleInsider

Reported 2 days earlier here: http://www.edn.com/index.asp?layout=...leid=CA6435024
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

Not just a matter of how much up front, but how much the licensing costs.

And everyone thought Apple was going to squash them.

Maybe Apple made this deal to legitimize their claims so they could go after bigger fish. Like Microsoft.
post #7 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

20 year old patent? I thought patentes were grated for up to 18 years. Anyone knows? Thanks.

True, but the infringement was prior to that time. The licensing was probably part of the settlement so they wouldn't have to pay as much (and not have to hold up leopard).
post #8 of 42
Would someone mind sharing with me WHERE there is universal use of tabs in the Tiger operating system? The only place I can see tabs is in Safari. So does this same suit cover tabs in FireFox? Tabs now in Internet Explorer, etc???
post #9 of 42
software patents should at the very least be reformed so that they only last at maximum a year or two. that way, corporations can get their return on investment on months of expensive development, and get their earned early foot in the door, but it wouldn't prevent others from imitating and improving on software innovation.

of course, the heart of the problem is the broad patents that are being given. but giving a short lifespan to broad patent would be effective, I think.

either way, the patent system as a whole needs an overhaul desperately.
post #10 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post

Reported 2 days earlier here: http://www.edn.com/index.asp?layout=...leid=CA6435024

Um, excuse me. Apparently you don't understand the term 'exclusively' when it comes to rumor sites. It means 'reported here exclusively, except for all the other places that reported it'.

It goes along with the "first reported here" line (which usually means when they first reported it, not so much that they were the first). With these, the rumor sites just write one or two 'pull any idea out of your butt and write it down!' articles a year, then, five years from now, they can have a link to that previous article to show you how on top of things they were.
post #11 of 42
It really does. Usually if the developer intends to actually develop the software upon making a technique it happens pretty quickly. There should at least be a show of implementing the technology if the patent will be over 2 years. Approval process to extend to five perhaps? But even then, you have the government involved more which isn't always a good thing.
post #12 of 42
The entire reason for IP Innovations existance is to search out and hoard patents.So they can initiate lawsuits.Lame but apparently profitable.
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macvault View Post

Would someone mind sharing with me WHERE there is universal use of tabs in the Tiger operating system? The only place I can see tabs is in Safari. So does this same suit cover tabs in FireFox? Tabs now in Internet Explorer, etc???

Don't think of it as just tabs. If you look at most preference panes, you'll see the mini-button bar across the top for the different areas (also, the toolbars in some apps' preferences that do the same thing).

Of course, you could argue that Apple has used the same technique since 1984 and its Control panel, but that's splitting hairs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

Maybe Apple made this deal to legitimize their claims so they could go after bigger fish. Like Microsoft.

Why? So this company can make even more money? There's no benefit except to see MS pay up (if you get your jollies from stuff like that). But that wouldn't be much fun, since you couldn't mock them, because Apple paid up too. And MS has a lot more $$$ then apple, so they certainly wouldn't care anyway. And if both of those things happen, then you see them going after Linux, Unix, and the like, now with even more legitamacy.

And if Apple settled for no other reason then to set off a lawsuit at MS, wouldn't that be cause to bring suit against apple (by shareholders) for wasting company money for some lame personal vengenance?

The only reason apple did this was for their own personal well-being. They didn't want some lame-ass court in TX (which is owned by the anti-trust lawyers, apparently) deciding there was cause and issuing a blanket order to stop all sales of Leopard (which also could affect iPhone sales).
post #14 of 42
This patent shouldn't even be legal... this is like patenting how I walk... with one foot in front of the other. Or patenting how to power a computer... with electricity. What's wrong with this world?
post #15 of 42
I'd bet they settled for $5 million...10 million tops. They'd never do better than that in a protracted legal battle with Apple.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

Why? So this company can make even more money? There's no benefit except to see MS pay up (if you get your jollies from stuff like that). But that wouldn't be much fun, since you couldn't mock them, because Apple paid up too. And MS has a lot more $$$ then apple, so they certainly wouldn't care anyway. And if both of those things happen, then you see them going after Linux, Unix, and the like, now with even more legitamacy.

And if Apple settled for no other reason then to set off a lawsuit at MS, wouldn't that be cause to bring suit against apple (by shareholders) for wasting company money for some lame personal vengenance?

The only reason apple did this was for their own personal well-being. They didn't want some lame-ass court in TX (which is owned by the anti-trust lawyers, apparently) deciding there was cause and issuing a blanket order to stop all sales of Leopard (which also could affect iPhone sales).

Good points, I don't see Apple as being that malevolent. However i can see tham as having the attitude of "Just pay them some money and let them be someone else's problem now. We don't need the media attention, and for a couple mil we get them off our back and are covered for a while until the next cash grab".
post #17 of 42
I wonder how many web pages or applications I've written that have tabbed bars to navigate between the various forms and pages.

What a ridiculous patent!
post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macvault View Post

Would someone mind sharing with me WHERE there is universal use of tabs in the Tiger operating system? The only place I can see tabs is in Safari. So does this same suit cover tabs in FireFox? Tabs now in Internet Explorer, etc???

That would be a yes. All major OSs use tabs and a lot of applications. Check out System Preferences, every section has tabs at the top, your Firefox preferences, Windows Live Messenger has tabs down the side. This company just chose to go after Apple first... who will be next?
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pseudowhis View Post

That would be a yes. All major OSs use tabs and a lot of applications. Check out System Preferences, every section has tabs at the top, your Firefox preferences, Windows Live Messenger has tabs down the side. This company just chose to go after Apple first... who will be next?

They must be going alphabetical.
post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macvault View Post

This patent shouldn't even be legal... this is like patenting how I walk... with one foot in front of the other. Or patenting how to power a computer... with electricity. What's wrong with this world?

Actually, if you go check your mail you will see a cease and desist letter from IP Innovations. They have just acquired some patents from the Ministry of Silly Walks and believe that your method of walking is in direct violation of their patent.
post #21 of 42
The first OS that made wide use of tabs (in my experience, anyway) was IBM's OS/2 Warp back in the early-mid 90s. They started showing up in Windows a few years after that. Has this group gone after Microsoft?? Will they go after IBM (OS/2 is dead, but tabs are used in Lotus Notes)? Mozilla?? When will this patent madness end??

And what's in the water in Marshall, TX that makes the citizens there so amenable to these ridiculous claims?
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbo View Post

The first OS that made wide use of tabs (in my experience, anyway) was IBM's OS/2 Warp back in the early-mid 90s. They started showing up in Windows a few years after that. Has this group gone after Microsoft?? Will they go after IBM (OS/2 is dead, but tabs are used in Lotus Notes)? Mozilla?? When will this patent madness end??

And what's in the water in Marshall, TX that makes the citizens there so amenable to these ridiculous claims?

Clearly Apple has not yet learned how to 'take care of' the judge in these matters.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

I wonder how many web pages or applications I've written that have tabbed bars to navigate between the various forms and pages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pseudowhis View Post

This company just chose to go after Apple first... who will be next?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

They must be going alphabetical.


Uh-oh, sounds like aegisdesign is next!
post #24 of 42
"And what's in the water in Marshall, TX that makes the citizens there so amenable to these ridiculous claims?"

Recent tests have shown an inordinate level of graft.
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbo View Post

And what's in the water in Marshall, TX that makes the citizens there so amenable to these ridiculous claims?

Oh, its just the way people are. Lawyers, esp. in anti-trust suits, love to file in Mississippi (I saw a thing on 60 minutes about it years ago) because the jurors think that if they vote in favor of the plaintiffs, then they might get some back, too (like in their own case, not necessarily in kickbacks).
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbo View Post

And what's in the water in Marshall, TX that makes the citizens there so amenable to these ridiculous claims?

The juries there are well known for delivering some very big numbers - they like a lot of zeros.
Ken
Reply
Ken
Reply
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

Of course, you could argue that Apple has used the same technique since 1984 and its Control panel, but that's splitting hairs.

Just a little earlier, and many things on a Lisa used the tab meme, I think all the windows used the tab as identification and window control. When you have a lot of minimized windows, it looked like a multi-row tab array that one freaking finds in a file drawer.
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I'd bet they settled for $5 million...10 million tops. They'd never do better than that in a protracted legal battle with Apple.

its $1,500 for the WWDC tickets right?

and there were 5,000+ attendees according to the jobsnote?

$7.5 million bucks before expenses. What's 5 or 10 mill between friends, right?
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macvault View Post

Would someone mind sharing with me WHERE there is universal use of tabs in the Tiger operating system?

Look throughout system preferences. There are tabs on most of those preference panels. The look may be slightly different from Safari's tabs in the main browser window, but the behavior is the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by akhomerun View Post

software patents should at the very least be reformed so that they only last at maximum a year or two. that way, corporations can get their return on investment on months of expensive development, and get their earned early foot in the door, but it wouldn't prevent others from imitating and improving on software innovation.

For something truly innovative enough to deserve a patent, I think five years is reasonable - that's effectively one or two complete product lifecycles. I don't think two years is long enough to turn a profit from an innovation - it may take more than two years from the date of filing until the product actually ships.

Of course, my "innovative enough to deserve a patent" clause is a big deal. 90% of the patents currently issued are obvious and shouldn't have any protection whatsoever.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

Of course, you could argue that Apple has used the same technique since 1984 and its Control panel, but that's splitting hairs.

Not really. It's the exact same concept. A vertical column of icons or a horizontal row of text labels, both performing the same action (swapping content in and out of a different region of the screen.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macvault View Post

This patent shouldn't even be legal... this is like patenting how I walk... with one foot in front of the other. Or patenting how to power a computer... with electricity. What's wrong with this world?

According to Wikipedia, a Sun/NeWS version of Emacs used tabs in 1988, and is one of the first examples of their use in an application. Mac System 6 (1988) used it for the control panel, but nowhere else (and abandoned it in System 7). OS/2 supported tabs as a standard system control (used in a lot of standard system apps and many third-party apps) in version 2.0 (1992).

Aside from these examples, I don't recall seeing tabs used in applications until Mozilla 0.9.5 introduced them (in 2001), and Mac OS X (also 2001), after which they became very popular and started appearing in a lot of different applications.

Given the fact that the concept was unheard of in commercial products before 1988, and was not commonplace until 2001, I think one could easily claim that the concept was not obvious in 1987 (20 years ago.)
post #30 of 42
Their bloated and retarded system is continuously hampering major advances in technology by small and large companies.
You'll soon be able to patent a fart technique.
post #31 of 42
Gee I hope they don't sue me. My file cabinet uses tabs too!
Always remember..wherever you go, there you are.
Reply
Always remember..wherever you go, there you are.
Reply
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The disputed section referred to the technique of creating a window on a computer 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.

Almost all GUI elements in computer applications have much older real world analogues. I don't really understand why anyone is allowed to patent a digital version of something we've been doing for decades or even centuries in some cases.

The patent described above sounds exactly like changing a TV channel. Pressing a channel button (back when TVs had such things) erases one view and replaces it with another. The frame with it's control buttons, speakers, etc. remains unchanged.

The whole idea of tabs comes from books. The only difference there is that choosing a tab causes it to flip over and move to the other side of the "display".
post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macvault View Post

This patent shouldn't even be legal... this is like patenting how I walk... with one foot in front of the other. Or patenting how to power a computer... with electricity. What's wrong with this world?

Great analogy!
post #34 of 42
Tabbed interfaces have been around for much longer than 1987.

For example, here's geoDex on a Commodore 64 from 1986 but how else would you design an interface for a rolodex without using tabs... ?

post #35 of 42
And high levels of Daft too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimUrban View Post

"And what's in the water in Marshall, TX that makes the citizens there so amenable to these ridiculous claims?"

Recent tests have shown an inordinate level of graft.
post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by akhomerun View Post

software patents should at the very least be reformed so that they only last at maximum a year or two. that way, corporations can get their return on investment on months of expensive development, and get their earned early foot in the door, but it wouldn't prevent others from imitating and improving on software innovation.

of course, the heart of the problem is the broad patents that are being given. but giving a short lifespan to broad patent would be effective, I think.

either way, the patent system as a whole needs an overhaul desperately.

I disagree with that. Even software patents should be for longer than a year or two.

Five to seven years seems sufficient. The idea of a patent is to allow the invention to spread, and to give other inventors enough knowledge about the item to enable them to try to find a valid way around it. So the inventor is allowed a good time to cash in on it.

Even in software, it can take several years until the software is able to use the invention.
post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamino View Post


Of course, my "innovative enough to deserve a patent" clause is a big deal. 90% of the patents currently issued are obvious and shouldn't have any protection whatsoever.

The Supreme Court has recently made a landmard decision about "obviousnes? It has tightned the ability to get a patent when based upon other past patents, as many patents are.

It will make challenges to patents easier as well.

My feeling it that there mush be something to this. It there wasn't, then Apple would have spent much less going to court.

I don't believe that Apple only paid 5 to 7 million. They were asking for 20 million plus an injunction against Apples' selling theis OS, or any product based on it, which would have stopped all computer sales as well.

If this company could afford to go to court, Apple certainly could.

If Apple won in court, it would make others with dubious claims think twice about suing. But when Apple paid Creative, and is now paying these people, others look at Apple as being an easier mark. I'm pretty sure Apple knows this, and wouldn't end the suit just to get it over with.
post #38 of 42
The injunction could be successful well before the court case is heard which could take many months. This is a risk Apple would be unwilling to accept. I'm sure this is one of the reasons for settlement.
post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by drmoto View Post

The injunction could be successful well before the court case is heard which could take many months. This is a risk Apple would be unwilling to accept. I'm sure this is one of the reasons for settlement.

An injunction is only successful if the court thinks that the plaintiff has such a strong case that they will likely win. If there is any doubt, it is not successful.
post #40 of 42
Hyper Card had Tabs in there Help stack in 1987.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Mac OS X
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac OS X › Apple to license interface technology as part of settlement