Apple to license interface technology as part of settlement

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
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The reported violation was an exceptionally specific one, referring to a single US Patent Office filing originally made by Xerox researchers for a "User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects."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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    bacillusbacillus Posts: 313member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 41
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    20 year old patent? I thought patentes were grated for up to 18 years. Anyone knows? Thanks.
  • Reply 3 of 41
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Not just a matter of how much up front, but how much the licensing costs.



    And everyone thought Apple was going to squash them.
  • Reply 4 of 41
    the cool gutthe cool gut Posts: 1,714member
    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
  • Reply 5 of 41
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 41
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    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).
  • Reply 7 of 41
    macvaultmacvault Posts: 323member
    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???
  • Reply 8 of 41
    akhomerunakhomerun Posts: 386member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 41
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 41
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 41
    The entire reason for IP Innovations existance is to search out and hoard patents.So they can initiate lawsuits.Lame but apparently profitable.
  • Reply 12 of 41
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    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).
  • Reply 13 of 41
    macvaultmacvault Posts: 323member
    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?
  • Reply 14 of 41
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,912member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 41
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    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".
  • Reply 16 of 41
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    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!
  • Reply 17 of 41
    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?
  • Reply 18 of 41
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 41
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 41
    morbomorbo Posts: 7member
    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?
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