Apple Hit with Patent Lawsuit Over Disk Utility

| News

Justice ScalesSoftware Restore Solutions has filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging the Mac, iPhone and iPad maker is infringing on its patents with the Disk Utility application that ships with every copy of Mac OS X. The lawsuit was filed on August 17 in U.S. District Court in Northern Illinois.

The company claimed Disk Utility steps on the toes of a network management patent it has held since 1998, and that Apple intentionally ignored the patent. Apple has been including the Disk Utility application with Mac OS X ever since the OS first shipped in 2001.

Disk Utility is an application that helps find and repair some system and disk-related problems, handles disk formatting and partitioning, and can create disk images.

Software Restore Solutions isn’t a stranger to Apple-related lawsuits. The company also sued Apple and several other companies such as Adobe, IBM, Citrix, Skype, and Electronic Arts in 2010 over claims that the companies were infringing on its networked workstation management patents.

The company is asking for triple damages in its current case against Apple.

[Thanks to Electronista for the heads up.]

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.



Apple has been including the Disk Utility application with Mac OS X ever since the OS first shipped in 2001.

Little late to the party aren’t they. I mean, it seems to me that waiting a DECADE to defend their patent would weaken their claim. Hadn’t they worked with OS-X? Didn’t they know Apple had a Disk Utility?

I looked up the patent and here’s the abstract:

ABSTRACT A workgroup organized network manager for controlling the operation of individual workstations within a computer network The workgroup organized network manager organizes workstations into workgroups and controls the distribution of information to each of the workstations within a defined workgroup The tasks each workstation performs are defined by a specification consisting of programs A library of programs is maintained on a host workstation designated as a controlling workstation within the workgroup The host workstation keeps track of activity occurring on the individual workstations within the workgroup A file maintenance and inventory system compares the attributes of files directories and software located on the workstation to check for discrepancies between files directories or software intended to be identical and for locating missing or extra files directories and software.

The original is here on Google Patents

I guess I don’t see how a system for remotely managing workstations would have anything in common with a disk utility. The File Maintenance part compares files on the host and the client and sees if the client has a corrupt version. This isn’t the same thing as fixing permissions on a file. The rest would have even less to do with what Disk Utility does.

Lastly, if Disk Utility infringes, how about Onyx or any one of the hundreds of disk and system repair utilities used throughout UNIXspace? They’re going to have to show that Apple directly copied their code otherwise I think this will get tossed in a minute.


Disk utility has been around much longer than 2001.  It’s been around at least since System 6 for the Mac.  It was called Disk first aid back then.


(sniff, sniff) To this non-J.D. it smells like one of those that boils down to suing for X dollars, and they’re prepared to make a lot of noise over coming months or years, but if you give them maybe 20% of that amount they’ll go away quickly, quietly, and happily, with more cash in hand than they’ve earned over the last five years.

Steve Ebener

Apple has been including the Disk Utility application with Mac OS X ever since the OS first shipped in 2001.

Little late to the party aren?t they. I mean, it seems to me that waiting a DECADE to defend their patent would weaken their claim. Hadn?t they worked with OS-X? Didn?t they know Apple had a Disk Utility?

Its MUCH longer than that. Apple has been including a disk ‘repair’ utility with its system software since it starting shipping Mac’s.

Back when the OS was called “System Software” (you remember System Software 9 and earlier right?) the repair utility was named “Disk First Aid” rather than Disk Utility. At that time there was a separate application for formatting and partitioning hard drives that were supplied by Apple, which worked with some third party (read NOT supplied by Apple) hard drives.


Before there was Disk Utility, wasn’t there Disk Doctor or something other? Isn’t DU the same thing?

And don’t you have to protect your patents? If you wait ten years, haven’t you sort of let the horse out of the barn? I should think this would apply to any Apple suits, too.

Nemo, call home and let us know. I’m sure I remember you mentioning something about protecting patents through litigation or losing them.

addition: Strange, I didn’t see the previous posts when I went to post so what I have posted is pretty much said already. Still, would like to hear from Nemo.

Disk First Aid. That was it.

Apple should have fun with this. They have the bucks. Keep this in court as long as possible. Drive the costs to the stars and the idiot company to smithereens.

And more. If Apple was first out the door, and this is legit, couldn’t Apple sue the buts off these morons?


Rats, too late to edit the following to the previous.
Jeff. Keep this puppy up to date, whatever the decade it takes to come to fruition.


@Geoduck: Patents aren’t Trademarks, they don’t have to be defended to be valid. As for the rest of those programs, they quite possibly all infringe on their patent.

In closing “Why does Apple keep stealing others’ hard work and innovation rather than developing their own technology?” For shame on Apple!


?Why does Apple keep stealing others? hard work and innovation rather than developing their own technology?? For shame on Apple!

I think it’s a huge jump to assume that Apple stole technology. Equal if not more likely that the plaintiff is trying to stretch a patent to cover something it does not. Far more likely that BOTH sides of these are using common technologies that have been around in various iterations since the dark ages of UNICS and the patent is on iffy grounds. Anyone can file a lawsuit, that means nearly nothing. Looking at the patent at this point I don’t see Apple as having infringed. If they did then I’m with you. At the moment it’s premature to condemn.


I think daemon speaks in jest.


I think it?s a huge jump to assume that Apple stole technology.

Ahem…. it’s a nuanced criticism of Apple and Steve Jobs own actions, specifically being a paraphrase of Steve Jobs. There’s a great many patents that have been granted that I see as being “obvious” and the argument is that “no one else did them.” And my response is always what are you talking about, everyone else has done that!


Then my apologies. I missed that you were being facetious.
My bad.



I was just working on a great tirade incase our daemon had ventured to the dark side.

I can save it for Ron, should he ever venture thither.

Log-in to comment