Apple has been named in a new lawsuit that accuses several companies of violating a patent that covers the idea of double clicking a user interface element and then interacting with a new user interface element caused by the double clicking. Apple’s iPad and iPhone are named in the suit as offending devices, and also targeted are Adobe, HTC, LG, Mobilcomm, Motorola, Nokia, Opera, Palm, Quickoffice, and Samsung.
Titled, “Double-Clicking a Point-and-Click User Interface Apparatus to Enable a New Interaction with Content represented by an Active Visual Display Element,” the patent was filed in 2002 by Actify, granted in 2007, and is now owned by Hopewell Culture and Design. That’s not a typo: In 2007, a patent was granted for the idea of double clicking, which was filed in 2002, 18 years after the Macintosh that popularized the idea of clicking and double clicking to market was first introduced.
As noted by AppleInsider, Actify’s patent application readily acknowledges that double clicking has been around for a long time, but it stipulates that this was opening files, or perhaps launching applications (using Microsoft Windows as the example). The novel idea the company Actify patented was the idea of double clicking someone on a display to pull up another option, and then interacting with that option.
From the patent’s abstract:
A method, comprising the steps of: ascertaining a double-click input to a point-and-click user interface apparatus when an active visual display element is selected, the active visual display element representing content with which a user can interact, wherein interaction with the content prior to the double-click input occurs using a first version of data representing the content; and in response to the double-click input to the point-and-click user interface apparatus, enabling interaction with the content using a second version of data representing the content.
While this is written in Patentese, the gobbledydook above roughly describes how one interacts with iOS devices and those devices that have come to market aping Apple’s iOS.
Whether the patent will stand up to court with the kind of money the above-listed companies can throw at legal defense is another issue, but we should note that the suit was filed in the patent-troll friendly U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, which is located in Marshall, Texas.