Apple sued over iPhone smooth scrolling
Scots claim first zoom
A Scottish IP firm is suing Apple over the smooth zooming and scrolling featured on the iPhone.
Glasgow-based patent licenser Picsel Technologies says the Cupertino iDevice maker illegally uses display technologies it developed. The firm sued Apple on Friday in Delaware District Court.
Picsel claims Apple infringes on its US patent 7,009,626, titled "Systems and Methods for Generating Visual Representations of Graphical Data and Digital Document Processing."
The patent describes using an approximate, intermediary rendering of what's displayed on a device while scrolling, zooming, or during other major screen transitions.
For example, if a user zooms into a particular object on a device's web browser, the transition is done by showing an approximation of what the final display will look like using scaled data from the page before the zoom.
Picsel claims it has spent millions of dollars developing the technology for the patent, which the USPTO approved on March 7, 2006.
The company also alleges that Apple knowingly and deliberately infringes on patent '626 with devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch, although the initial complaint doesn't provide evidence for this claim.
Picsel says the IP has been baked into more than 200 million devices worldwide. Its website lists companies like Fujitsu, NEC, Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic, Palm, HP, Motorola, and Nokia as licensing partners.
It appears many of the technologies the firm makes are produced in-house - not collected from other inventors.
The complaint asks for a block on allegedly infringing Apple products, unspecified damages, that patent damages be increased to three times the amount awarded, and attorneys fees.
A copy of the lawsuit is available here. ®
The Tandy Color Computer had smooth scrolling...
I remember typing in the machine code for a computer program from Rainbow Magazine that gave a Tandy Color Computer the ability to do smooth scroll on a graphical text screen back in 1987!
It was used for scrolling titles on video that we sent to the television station...
Sorry - this is complete junk. They should be counter-sued for a frivolous low suit!
Re: The point is...
"This is nothing to do with a failing company, or a patent troll."
They look like a failing company from what others have said. Thus the clock is ticking towards the point in time where they do become a patent troll or have their assets acquired by one.
"This is to do with a company protecting thier IP and ensuring that thier revenue stream from said IP does not suddenly dry up when everybody realises that if Apple can't be bothered to pay them and can get away with it, they may as well do the same thing...."
It would be interesting to envisage a situation where ARM, as an example of a company making most of their money through licensing, were unable to obtain revenue from their "IP" and had to litigate. The difference is, perhaps, that ARM's "IP" is more widely recognised, although I dispute the supposed protection semiconductor vendors seek on things like instruction set features. Picsel, in contrast, have built any comparable licensing activity on a weak foundation: software patents are not considered legitimate throughout the software development profession and, with any luck, will be eliminated in the not too distant future.
And the term "IP" is convenient for hand-waving by patent advocates since it obscures the desire of a party seeking "patent protection" to acquire a monopoly. Few people have much sympathy for monopolists any more, especially when such monopolies merely introduce needless obstacles to genuine innovation because everyone is supposed to consult stacks of issued patents before writing each line of code. This is why lawyers seem to want to stick their fingers into the software business: everyone suddenly needs more legal advice, and the business of writing software suddenly starts to resemble a legal activity, ruining it for actual practitioners but making it a very comfortable source of income for lawyers.
And not many people are in the habit of arguing for more lawyers on the planet.
The point is....
For all you people screaming patent troll stop and think for a minute.
Picsel currently license this technology to a bunch of big hitters (Palm included). If they do not defend thier patent against Apple why should the other companies they license thier tech to keep paying them?
This is nothing to do with a failing company, or a patent troll. This is to do with a company protecting thier IP and ensuring that thier revenue stream from said IP does not suddenly dry up when everybody realises that if Apple can't be bothered to pay them and can get away with it, they may as well do the same thing....
Not all patent disputes are without merit and started by patent trolls!!!!
Re: Time for a bit of cynicism
""they [patents] monopolise knowledge of potentially natural processes"
doesn't sound too scary to me, since I've never come across a "potentially" natural process"
What I meant was that some of the algorithms that are patented (illegitimately, of course, for reasons already stated) are quite probably realised through natural processes. For example, someone might argue that their computer vision algorithms are extra-special, yet the visual systems of numerous organisms could well implement variations of such algorithms.
Play word games if you like, but it would be very undesirable for natural processes, whether they are currently known or whether knowledge of them is widespread or restricted to a specialised domain, to be owned by someone who claims that they have "invented" those processes.
"SCO went round suing for copyright infringement, rather than patent infringement. So does that mean the copyright system is broken as well ..."
SCO did indeed sue over copyright infringement as well as on various contractual issues. My point here was that litigation, especially over illegitimate instruments of "intellectual property" - software patents, fictional copyright claims (in SCO's case) - is often the last resort of a failing company. Care to contradict this assertion?
As for copyright, there are various problems with the copyright system, too, but the patent system is fundamentally broken, especially in software but also in other areas, as well.
Re: Not a troll
"Sorry but Picsel have been developing their software for years. I know a number of very good software engineers that work for them and they have done some pretty good work over the years."
This may be true: I am also somewhat aware of Picsel's heritage. However, as I noted with respect to litigation, at what point do you peel the back off the "troll" sticker and stick it on? When Picsel becomes some kind of shell company licensing its "IP"? This kind of action sets the scene for that very day.