Feeds

Anti-Apple lawsuit cites 20-year-old patent

Xerox UI technique dusted down, sent to court

Remote control for virtualized 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.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.