Mac OS X 10.4 Interface Under Legal Scrutiny

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Date: Tuesday, April 24th, 2007, 09:08
Category: News

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Ensuring that Apple‘s legal department doesn’t get bored, Illinois-based intellectual property agency IP Innovation LLC and its parent firm, Nevada-based Technology Licensing Corporation, have filed suit against Apple according to AppleInsider.
The suit, filed on April 18th in a U.S. district court in Marshall, Texas, is fueled by a four page formal complaint purporting that Apple has infringed on a computer control patent via its sales of the Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” operating system. The plaintiff is requesting a jury trial and seeking reparations for perceived damages that “exceed US$20 million”. The suit also seeks an injunction that would prevent Apple from continuing to sell its current edition of the Mac OS X operating system until a future edition without the supposed patent violation is made available.
The patent in question refers to patent 5072412, which has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and details the technique of creating a window on a computer’s screen with controls that switch between views of multiple associated display objects within that window. Here, one view is erased while the user selects another while still providing a spatial frame of reference as well as the same general interface during this switch.
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fruitlogo1.jpg
Ensuring that Apple‘s legal department doesn’t get bored, Illinois-based intellectual property agency IP Innovation LLC and its parent firm, Nevada-based Technology Licensing Corporation, have filed suit against Apple according to AppleInsider.
The suit, filed on April 18th in a U.S. district court in Marshall, Texas, is fueled by a four page formal complaint purporting that Apple has infringed on a computer control patent via its sales of the Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” operating system. The plaintiff is requesting a jury trial and seeking reparations for perceived damages that “exceed US$20 million”. The suit also seeks an injunction that would prevent Apple from continuing to sell its current edition of the Mac OS X operating system until a future edition without the supposed patent violation is made available.
The patent in question refers to patent 5072412, which has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and details the technique of creating a window on a computer’s screen with controls that switch between views of multiple associated display objects within that window. Here, one view is erased while the user selects another while still providing a spatial frame of reference as well as the same general interface during this switch.
IP Innovation, which hasn’t specified any single specific feature of the Mac OS X 10.4 operating system as copying the interface technique, centrally claims that any of several current approaches to navigation within OS X such as category dividers in Spotlight and page tabs in Safari may violate the patent.
Spaces, a long-awaited feature slated to arrive in the Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” operating system, would not be affected by the conditions of the immediate lawsuit.
Other questions remain, especially considering that the patent, which was originally filed in 1987, was last updated in December of 1991 with Xerox as the lone corporate owner. The plaintiff has also chosen to release the complaint exactly two years after Apple’s April, 2005 release of Mac OS X 10.4 and only six months before Apple’s anticipated release of Mac OS X 10.5, which would phase out Mac OS X 10.4 and its alleged patent violations.

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