Feeds

PalmOne overturns Xerox Graffiti patent

Unistroke 'not unique'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A Xerox pen-based text-entry system patent - ownership of which forced Palm to ditch its Graffiti character-input technology - is invalid, a US District Court judge has ruled.

The patent, number 5,596,656, details Xerox's Unistroke system, a series of 'shorthand' symbols drawn instead of real character glyphs. The symbols are recognised by the software more easily that real handwriting, making the faster to convert into text data. The patent was granted in 1997, but filed some years earlier.

In April 1997, Xerox said that Palm, then owned by US Robotics, had infringed that patent when it released Graffiti, a series of 'shorthand' symbols drawn instead of real character glyphs.

The Court concurred, and in December 2001, Palm was ordered not to offer products using the infringing technology. The handheld maker - by now operating as Palm and PalmSource - achieved that by licensing CIC's Jot software, the text-entry system already used by Microsoft's PocketPC OS. PalmSource re-branded Jot as Graffiti 2.

Ironically, PalmSource's tweaking of the Graffiti 2 symbol set resulted in a character-entry system that was less like Graffiti 1 than the PocketPC's symbol set is.

Skip forward to 2004, and PalmSource and Palm - the latter now called PalmOne - are separate entities. PalmOne retains liability for the infringement. It has always maintained - in all of its guises - that the Xerox patent is invalid, and now a judge has ruled in its favour.

Judge Michael A Telesca of the US District Court for the Western District of New York said simply: "Prior art references anticipate and render obvious the claim [made in the Xerox patent]." In other words, Unistroke wasn't unique, and Xerox has no right to claim ownership of the technique through its invention.

Xerox may yet appeal against the decision, primarily by attempting to show the prior art doesn't cover as much of the technology as PalmOne reckons it does.

In any case, the decision comes to late for those of us used to Graffiti 1 and have problems adapting to Graffiti 2. Having made the transition, PalmOne is unlikely to go back to the initial implementation. ®

Related stories

Palm draws up plans for Graffiti 2
Xerox priesthood suffers Graffitti setback
Xerox wins Palm handwriting case
Xerox patent action over Palm Pilot casts cloud on IPO
Smart card company sues over Palm patent piracy claim

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.