Feeds

Anti-Apple lawsuit cites 20-year-old patent

Xerox UI technique dusted down, sent to court

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Apple is facing a jury trial over allegations it ripped off a US patent filed by Xerox way back in 1987. At issue: Mac OS X 10.4's use of tabs and other UI elements to flip between different panels within a single window.

The lawsuit was filed on 18 April in the Texas District Court by intellectual property holding company IP Innovation and its parent company, Technology Licensing, AppleInsider reports. The plaintiffs want a jury trial, damages in excess of $20m and a ban on sales of current and future versions of Mac OS X.

The patent - number 5,072,412 - describes a "user interface with multiple workspaces for sharing display system objects". Think tabbed browsing, the way a single Safari, Firefox or even Internet Explorer window can flip between different web pages by clicking on the tabs at the top of the page. You can see the same effect in a range of Mac OS X user interface panels, such as its System Preferences panes.

Actually, you can see it in Windows too, and it's a feature not absent from Linux, for that matter. And even Mac OS X has had this kind of UI element in pre-Tiger releases. Linux also has virtual desktops which, it could be argued, are covered by the patent too. Apple is expected to add virtual desktop technology to Mac OS X 10.5 - a feature Apple calls Spaces.

Interestingly, some of Apple's own patents cite patent number 5,072,412, as do user-interface related patents from a number of other companies, including Microsoft, Sun and the now defunct General Magic. Clearly Apple wasn't unaware of the patent. It has yet to comment on the lawsuit, however.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
Intel unleashed octo-core speed demon for the power-crazed crowd
Haswell-E processors designed for gamers and workstation crowds
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?