Lawsuit alleges Apple lifted idea for iChat video backdrops

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
A little-known corporation from Newport Beach, California is suing Mac maker Apple Inc., alleging that a new version of the company's iChat video conferencing software infringes on patented technology through its use of custom video backdrops.



In the 6-page complaint, filed Wednesday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Digital Background Corporation claims that the Apple software infringes on its 1998 patent entitled "Real-Time Method of Digitally Altering a Video Data Stream to Remove Portions of the Original Image and Substitute Elements to Create a New Image."



iChat 4.0, which shipped last month as part of the Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system, also contains "a 'backdrop' feature which takes a picture of the background, replaces it with a photo or video of choice using a video frame storage and computer system to modify and then display the new image," the suit explains, without going into further detail.



Digital Background Corporation has asked the Court to award it a permanent injunction enjoining Apple from selling copies of Leopard that include the software, damages resulting from the infringement, treble those damages because DBC believes the infringement has been willful, and attorneys fees.



DBC's claim that infringement has been willful appears to stem from the fact that its technology has been readily accessible through a Windows product dubbed StarFX, which notes in its credits that the employed virtual backdrop technology is patented. The software application is "designed to be the industry standard for manipulating and enhancing PC video in real-time," according to a June 2000 press release.



Viewics's StarFX Software (Left) and Apple's iChat 4.0 (Right).



In addition, the company is asking in its suit that existing copies of Leopard be recalled from wholesalers, that all infringing equipment produced by Apple be destroyed, and that Apple "send a copy of any decision in this case in favor of DBC to each person or entity to whom Apple has sold or otherwise distributed any products found to infringe [its] patent, or induced to infringe [its] patent, and informing such persons or entities of the judgment and that the sale or solicited commercial transaction was wrongful."



DBC, by way of its attorneys at SimmonsCooper LLC, are requesting a trial by jury.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    In addition, the company is asking in its suit that existing copies of Leopard be recalled from wholesalers, that all infringing equipment produced by Apple be destroyed, and that Apple "send a copy of any decision in this case in favor of DBC to each person or entity to whom Apple has sold or otherwise distributed any products found to infringe [its] patent, or induced to infringe [its] patent, and informing such persons or entities of the judgment and that the sale or solicited commercial transaction was wrongful."





    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA





    "breath"







    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA



    Prior Art: See; ANY weather broadcast.
  • Reply 2 of 81
    wallywally Posts: 211member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post


    Prior Art: See; ANY weather broadcast.



    Or most Sci-Fi channel shows....
  • Reply 3 of 81
    Why are they doing this only now? It's been a known fact for more than half a year that this will be a feature of iChat.



    Seems stupid. Or did they wait for the product to be released?
  • Reply 4 of 81
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    I think they're being lenient, they should have also stated that anyone who has come in contact with said technology i.e within visual range must be immediately and inhumanely put to death and then spat on for stealing their so ingenious invention that no one has ever used before.



    Why is it that people see it right to bring up such asinine lawsuits against Apple for clearly ridiculous things and yet Apple brings out the iphone, almost everyone copies it in some form and we hear nothing about it - you'd think all these ambulance chasing lawyers would be on Apple's side as way more people copy them than the converse. Apple practically invented the entire personal computer industry and some schmuck thinks they deserve to be taken down for using real-time green-screening.
  • Reply 5 of 81
    This suit acctually has slightly more merit then most of the other ones popping up lately...



    That being said... Let's have an metaphore for this.

    ~~~~

    ~~~~

    A young boy at school makes comic books that many of the other kids read. Another little boy draws a picture, and hides it in his desk, saying, "If they want to see it, they can come ask me." Many other kids draw pictures like it, but he doesn't care. Several months later, The comic book boy draws a 300 page book, and one of the pages looks a little bit like the other boy's picture, only still much different. Soon, everyone on the playground is reading the comic book. The boy who drew the small picture goes to the teacher, showing her and saying "Teacher, teacher! I drew this picture yesterday and showed it to everyone and then that other boy made his big comic book about it, and he stole my picture to do it!!! Make him tear it iu please, make him tear it up, burn any desk he put it in, and then write an apology letter to anyone who saw it!!! Pleases?? He copied me!"

    ~~~~

    ~~~~

    [/allegory]
  • Reply 6 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Digital Background Corporation


    In addition, the company is asking in its suit that Apple retrofit all iSight cameras with lasers, to blind anyone who attempts to use the misappropriated software technologies.



    If this goes to trial, I can't wait for the Phil Schiller demo from the witness stand.
  • Reply 7 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    If this goes to trial, I can't wait for the Phil Schiller demo from the witness stand.







    Yeah.. sounds like him.
  • Reply 8 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I think they're being lenient, they should have also stated that anyone who has come in contact with said technology i.e within visual range must be immediately and inhumanely put to death and then spat on for stealing their so ingenious invention that no one has ever used before.



    Why is it that people see it right to bring up such asinine lawsuits against Apple for clearly ridiculous things and yet Apple brings out the iphone, almost everyone copies it in some form and we hear nothing about it - you'd think all these ambulance chasing lawyers would be on Apple's side as way more people copy them than the converse. Apple practically invented the entire personal computer industry and some schmuck thinks they deserve to be taken down for using real-time green-screening.



    why do you ridicule something you know nothing about? you have no idea of the lawsuits background. I think apple like all corporations steal from whereever they can and are willing to play the game as far as lawsuits are concerned.



    personally i think it is good that apple are being sued they are getting way too huge a corporation to give a @#$% about anyone other than their own bottom line.



    They have relied on customers such as yourselves for years to keep their head about water and yet 'you' the customer are the last thing they care about.



    Apple like all corporations have stolen a great many things / or when they feel that the risk is too high they buy companies out in order to have that technology under their wing.



    Sure go ahead ridicule companies who stand up for their rights against huge corporations. I'll bet you all thought Bush was a liberal too!
  • Reply 9 of 81
    And are you the one suing????
  • Reply 10 of 81
    Deleted by author.
  • Reply 11 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by william Hurt View Post


    why do you ridicule something you know nothing about? you have no idea of the lawsuits background. I think apple like all corporations steal from whereever they can and are willing to play the game as far as lawsuits are concerned.



    personally i think it is good that apple are being sued they are getting way too huge a corporation to give a @#$% about anyone other than their own bottom line.



    They have relied on customers such as yourselves for years to keep their head about water and yet 'you' the customer are the last thing they care about.



    Apple like all corporations have stolen a great many things / or when they feel that the risk is too high they buy companies out in order to have that technology under their wing.



    Sure go ahead ridicule companies who stand up for their rights against huge corporations. I'll bet you all thought Bush was a liberal too!





    That is so asinine, it is impossible to reply to... no wait. William Hurt has stolen from neighbours and friends for years, relying on all of them to keep him above water-- a known fact, Gospel, in fact---- fer sher!!!
  • Reply 12 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by william Hurt View Post


    why do you ridicule something you know nothing about? you have no idea of the lawsuits background. I think apple like all corporations steal from whereever they can and are willing to play the game as far as lawsuits are concerned.



    personally i think it is good that apple are being sued they are getting way too huge a corporation to give a @#$% about anyone other than their own bottom line.



    They have relied on customers such as yourselves for years to keep their head about water and yet 'you' the customer are the last thing they care about.



    Apple like all corporations have stolen a great many things / or when they feel that the risk is too high they buy companies out in order to have that technology under their wing.



    Sure go ahead ridicule companies who stand up for their rights against huge corporations. I'll bet you all thought Bush was a liberal too!







    You made THAT your first post?! Dude, I'm sorry, I forgot ALL corporations are Evil. I'm going to go stand in the corner now. By the way, has anyone used this software that is suing Apple? The major difference between the iChat and StarFX is, the iChat looks less like crap. Do I have to burn my copy of Leopard even if I don't have an iSight plugged into this computer, or have no desire to use that feature?



    Anyone that uses "FX" in the name of their stuff carry no credibility.
  • Reply 13 of 81
    most of these law sue end up goin no where because the patent system is so screw up, but sometimes people really think that apple has only been around for a couple of years, not knowing that most of these patents have been around dating back to the early 80s when they where only ideas, by microsoft and apple thats why they always get away with it
  • Reply 14 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by william Hurt View Post


    why do you ridicule something you know nothing about? you have no idea of the lawsuits background.




    I am not a lawyer, but that has never stopped me in the past.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by william Hurt View Post


    I think apple like all corporations steal from whereever they can and are willing to play the game as far as lawsuits are concerned.



    ALL corporations are bad.

    That is a very prejudiced remark.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by william Hurt View Post


    personally i think it is good that apple are being sued they are getting way too huge a corporation to give a @#$% about anyone other than their own bottom line.



    So they are getting big and successful?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by william Hurt View Post


    They have relied on customers such as yourselves for years to keep their head about water and yet 'you' the customer are the last thing they care about.



    But they are just keeping their head above water?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by william Hurt View Post


    Apple like all corporations have stolen a great many things / or when they feel that the risk is too high they buy companies out in order to have that technology under their wing.



    Did a corporation hurt you when you were a child?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by william Hurt View Post


    Sure go ahead ridicule companies who stand up for their rights against huge corporations. I'll bet you all thought Bush was a liberal too!



    DBC is also a corporation so they are bad and must have stolen from someone as well according to your logic.



    You sir are a ignoramus.
  • Reply 15 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post


    You made THAT your first post?! Dude, I'm sorry, I forgot ALL corporations are Evil. I'm going to go stand in the corner now. By the way, has anyone used this software that is suing Apple? The major difference between the iChat and StarFX is, the iChat looks less like crap. Do I have to burn my copy of Leopard even if I don't have an iSight plugged into this computer, or have no desire to use that feature?



    Anyone that uses "FX" in the name of their stuff carry no credibility.



    HA HA HA! First Post!

    Doesn't bode well for the future.

    There goes the neighborhood!
  • Reply 16 of 81
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    While I suspect that Apple will win this one (unless they somehow stole and are using the exact same algorithms this company uses for their product), I would not call this one frivolous, like so many of the others.



    Weather broadcasts and movies are a bit different in that they typically use blue or green screens. If this company developed a new and unique way to map a varied background pattern and substitute something else in it's place (as opposed to just "replace all the green pixels with the weather map") AND if Apple is utilizing the same technique, the MIGHT have a case.



    I'd say the idea isn't necessarily unqiue or non-intuitive, it's a natural progression of the green screen. But HOW they did it might be the key to the lawsuit.
  • Reply 17 of 81
    Seriously, tough. WTF is up with these AppleInsider pop-up ads. I clicked off the block for a previous site, and now I had to close 6 windows. I think I should sue AppleInsider since my finger hurts from closing those ads and while I'm at it, should I destroy my Mac and monitor or just my monitor or my modem or all three along with the wiring in my house and every house in the world since the Internet is global?
  • Reply 18 of 81
    smeesmee Posts: 195member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by william Hurt View Post


    why do you ridicule something you know nothing about? you have no idea of the lawsuits background. I think apple like all corporations steal from whereever they can and are willing to play the game as far as lawsuits are concerned.



    personally i think it is good that apple are being sued they are getting way too huge a corporation to give a @#$% about anyone other than their own bottom line.



    They have relied on customers such as yourselves for years to keep their head about water and yet 'you' the customer are the last thing they care about.



    Apple like all corporations have stolen a great many things / or when they feel that the risk is too high they buy companies out in order to have that technology under their wing.



    Sure go ahead ridicule companies who stand up for their rights against huge corporations. I'll bet you all thought Bush was a liberal too!



    AAHHHHH, AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH!!!!



    WOW....



    edit:

    sry, just had to let it out... (*chuckles)



    I want to know what happens next with this so called "lawsuit".
  • Reply 19 of 81
    I agree that there might be something legit here. It depends on the specifics. Its a 'neat' feature that someone thought up someday and maybe before Apple did. Its crazy to claim that it was willfull or that Apple stole the idea.



    Maybe it's a case of legit claim, bad lawyer? If the thing has any merits, Apple will settle for a couple million and not be impacted.



    I feel an odd sympathy towards the small company here... certainly different than the "I'm Gonna SUE EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!" lawsuits.



    I'm interested in the outcome....
  • Reply 20 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by william Hurt View Post


    ...I think apple like all corporations steal from whereever they can...



    Okay, I won't go so far as to say that all corporations steal, but Apple has been known to "borrow" a few ideas. Remember Konfabulator? Apple lifted that right up and dropped it in Panther. And they got away with it. No lawsuit, no nothing.



    However, regarding this lawsuit, you'd have to look at the details of Digital Background Corporation's patent in order to tell if it infringes. I think it would come down to the subtleties of how DBC renders their real-time video vs how Apple does. I'm almost certain it's more complex than simply a "Weather Forcast" / green screen. If their patent isn't, then it will be dismissed as being too broad. Otherwise, they might actually have a case. There's no way they'll win that outrageous injunction, but will most likely settle out of court for a large-enough sum of money to keep them going for a few years and further insulate the pockets of their upper management. Same-old, same-old. Small companies do it all the time. Get over it.



    -Clive
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