Apple, Google, Microsoft sued over icon previews

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Apple, along with fellow tech heavyweights Google and Microsoft, are accused in a new lawsuit of patent infringement for their use of icons that include a graphical representation of a file's contents.



The 4-page complaint filed this month by Arizon-based Cygnus Systems, Inc charges all three companies with infringing on its March 2008 US patent No. 7,346,850, titled "System and Method for Iconic Software Environment Management."



"The [patent] generally relates to methods of and systems for accessing one or more computer files via a graphical icon, wherein the graphical icon includes an image of a selected portion or portions of the one or more computer files," the suit says.



In particular, Cygnus takes issue with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard's use of icon previews in traditional Finder windows, as well as more detailed views presented by QuickLook icons that are accessible when viewing Finder windows in Cover Flow mode.



"Apple has further infringed one or more claims of [the patent] at least by making, using, selling, and offering for sale its iPhone and iPhone?s accompanying iconic file preview and access functionality, including but not limit to the iconic file preview and access functionality of iPhone?s main menu and Safari Internet browser applications," the complaint adds.



Similarly, Microsoft is charged for its use of iconic file previews in Vista and Internet Explorer, while Google is accused of treading on the patented concept via iconic file previews present in its relatively new Chrome web browser.







Cygnus, which bills itself as a provider of "unique computing, networking and application needs of small to midsized businesses" in the state of Michigan, is seeking a damages in addition to an injunction prohibiting the three companies from further infringement.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    We

    need

    patent

    reform

    NOW!
  • Reply 2 of 38
    Don't you dare take a breath. That is patented as of last March.
  • Reply 3 of 38
    roos24roos24 Posts: 170member
    Here we go again. How much does this all cost and who is paying for it? We all know who will be the winners in the end: the lawyers. Well, I guess that's what you can expect in a country where there are probably more lawyers in every single state alone than there are in all of Japan....
  • Reply 4 of 38
    cubertcubert Posts: 728member
    This sounds like a great business strategy!



    I think I'm going to go patent the wheel.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    pmjoepmjoe Posts: 565member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    We

    need

    patent

    reform

    NOW!



    Can we patent that remark?



    Seriously, throw out ALL software patents. Throw out all software user interface patents. If it is not patentable in a mechanical, physical form, throw it out.



    Ideas are not patentable. Only implementations of ideas are patentable. Software implementations are protected by copyrights, not patents.
  • Reply 6 of 38
    I'm going to patent the patent. Then all your patent are belong to us!
  • Reply 7 of 38
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    I think I'm going to go patent the wheel.



    An Australian patented the wheel about 15 years ago. I think it was reported in Wired magazine at the time.



    The Cygnus patent should be thrown out for being obvious. I remember discussing the idea with a colleague who suggested it in 1983 when we first saw the original Mac. I commented that there wasn't enough computing power for that to be worthwhile, but someday it would happen. Neither of us thought it would take as long as did. A few years later, it was one of the features I expected from NeXT but didn't get.
  • Reply 8 of 38
    Also, I had icon previews back in system 7, which was at least 15 years ago. I can't imagine this lawsuit has ANYTHING to stand on.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    I just did this with the word "The", "the", "THE", "tHe", "thE", and "tHE".



    I'm going to sue all of you who are using it in any sentence which is publicly displayed in any shape or form.



  • Reply 10 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BHoughton View Post


    I just did this with the word "The", "the", "THE", "tHe", "thE", and "tHE".



    I'm going to sue all of you who are using it in any sentence which is publicly displayed in any shape or form.







    That is THe dumbest patent ever.
  • Reply 11 of 38
    Cygnus, which now bills itself as a leech...
  • Reply 12 of 38
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    It's great when you get to sue your partners.



    From their website:



    Our Partners

    We partner with only the top line software and hardware suppliers.

    We are Microsoft Gold Certified. Providing only the latest microsoft software for businesses.
  • Reply 13 of 38
    Adobe Photoshop has been putting icon representations on files for at least 10 years. QuickTime has been doing it for at least as long as well. The "Set Poster Frame" in QuickTime Player which lets you pick the icon that represents the file in the Finder goes back so far in time that I lose all recollection of when it first appeared. This is just crazy.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    I'm a programmer, not a lawyer, but this seems like a pretty obvious (i.e. unpatentable) feature to me.



    http://online.wsj.com/public/resourc...flex070430.pdf



    §103 of the Patent Act forbids issuance of a patent when ?the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art.?
  • Reply 15 of 38
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dpackman View Post


    Don't you dare take a breath. That is patented as of last March.



    The patent was approved in March 2008.

    However, it was filed on 8 June 2001 and is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/097,283, filed Jun. 12, 1998 now abandoned.
  • Reply 16 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    The patent was approved in March 2008.

    However, it was filed on 8 June 2001 and is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/097,283, filed Jun. 12, 1998 now abandoned.



    OK, if the patent wasn't approved until this past March, then in the meantime how could anyone have infringed upon a patent that didn't exist until now. It is not officially patented until it is approved right?
  • Reply 17 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post


    can we patent that remark?



    Seriously, throw out all software patents. Throw out all software user interface patents. If it is not patentable in a mechanical, physical form, throw it out.



    Ideas are not patentable. Only implementations of ideas are patentable. Software implementations are protected by copyrights, not patents.



    a

    g

    r

    e

    e

    d

    !

    !

    !

    :-)
  • Reply 18 of 38
    i patented ":-)" last week



    im now going to sue you all



    where's my lawyer



    mwahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa, im going to be rich!
  • Reply 19 of 38
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jimdouglas View Post


    I'm a programmer, not a lawyer, but this seems like a pretty obvious (i.e. unpatentable) feature to me.



    http://online.wsj.com/public/resourc...flex070430.pdf



    §103 of the Patent Act forbids issuance of a patent when ?the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art.?



    Exactly. The patent should have never been awarded.



    Check it out.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    Exactly. The patent should have never been awarded.



    Check it out.



    Good find; I couldn't remember how far back live icons were available. That would actually invalidate the patent for a second reason:



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prior_art



    Standard disclaimer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IANAL
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