Apple's interface held to the fire in dubious suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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 It refers to a single US Patent Office filing originally made by Xerox researchers for a "User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects" -- and, in turn, a lone claim within that patent.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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 80
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    No link to said patent?
  • Reply 2 of 80
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,451member
    One flew over the Cupertino nest?
  • Reply 3 of 80
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    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?
  • Reply 4 of 80
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 80
    wallywally Posts: 211member
    I am so sick of these g**damned gold-digging a**hole companies! I hope someone shoots the ****ers in front of the courthouse!
  • Reply 6 of 80
    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...
  • Reply 7 of 80
    zwebenzweben Posts: 75member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 80
    bauchbauch Posts: 20member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 80
    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?
  • Reply 10 of 80
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 80
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 80
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,016member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 80
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 80
    Cliveat5 is the best poster, he needs to shed some knowledge on this topic. Clive, are you listening? Shed some knowledge
  • Reply 15 of 80
    I ain't sayin' it's a frivolous suit. But they ain't messin' with no broke fruit.
  • Reply 16 of 80
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 80
    scotty321scotty321 Posts: 313member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 80
    If, on the verge of bankruptcy, there is one out. Sue someone.
  • Reply 19 of 80
    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!
  • Reply 20 of 80
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,715member
    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.
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