Apple is being sued by an Illinois-based company and its Nevada partner over the Mac OS X. Apparently, Apple is infringing on a patent for tabs.
Little-known intellectual property agency IP Innovation LLC and its parent Technology Licensing Corporation are claiming that Apple is abusing a patent they hold. The formal complaint accuses Apple of “willful and deliberate” infringement of the computer control patent, by selling its current Tiger operating system. Not only is IP Innovation demanding a jury trial, but they also seek an injunction that would prevent Apple from infringing on the patent, by blocking them from continuing to sell the current version of Mac OS X as well as any future versions that might draw on the supposed infringements. They also ask for reparations for perceived damages which “exceed $20 million.”
The patent itself is a filing originally by Xerox researchers for a “User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects.” More specifically, it 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.
The claim may apply to various elements of Apple’s software, including tabs, sidebar folders, and even the dock, and IP Innovation has not specifically referred to any one feature of the Mac OS as copying the interface technique. In fact, the 20-year-old description could potentially apply to a great deal, not only in OS X but in just about any operating system today.
Apple has so far decided not to comment on the matter, after having received notice of the impending court case last week.
Apple, Mac, OS X, Tiger, OS X Tiger, Operating System, Sued