Google, Apple sued over Street View mapping tech

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


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 ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    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."
  • Reply 2 of 66
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    "a seemingly endless string of technology patent litigation?



    It does SEEM endless sometimes, but that?s 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.
  • Reply 3 of 66
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,589member
    It's real simple. Stop the patent trolls! A way has to be found to stop these extortionists.
  • Reply 4 of 66
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,368member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 66
    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).
  • Reply 6 of 66
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 66
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,336member
    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?
  • Reply 8 of 66
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 66
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 66
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 66
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,696member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 66
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 66
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 66
    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).
  • Reply 15 of 66
    tnsftnsf Posts: 203member
    As if Apple doesn't have an indemnity clause for any integrated Google services.



    Better luck next time!
  • Reply 16 of 66
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 66
    Of all the patent trolls we've seen this one looks to have the strongest case from what I can see.
  • Reply 18 of 66
    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".
  • Reply 19 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    "a seemingly endless string of technology patent litigation?



    It does SEEM endless sometimes, but that?s 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.
  • Reply 20 of 66
    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.
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