Apple, Graphics Properties Holdings battle with multiple patent suits

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 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
  • Reply 2 of 35
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,752member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 35
    banchobancho Posts: 1,517member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by uplate View Post


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



    That's golden.
  • Reply 4 of 35
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,752member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 35
    mhiklmhikl Posts: 471member
    Steve said it. Apple learned its lesson from the M$ copy feast of the eighties and isn?t 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.
  • Reply 6 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!?
  • Reply 7 of 35
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    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?
  • Reply 8 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.
  • Reply 9 of 35
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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.
  • Reply 10 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.
  • Reply 11 of 35
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,438member
    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
  • Reply 12 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?
  • Reply 13 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!
  • Reply 14 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.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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.
  • Reply 16 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.
  • Reply 17 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.
  • Reply 18 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bancho View Post


    That's golden.



    The Golden Aspect Ratio?
  • Reply 19 of 35
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 35
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    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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