Apple Sued for Using Carousel Effect on Website


Apple has yet another patent infringement lawsuit to deal with, this time for the sliding carousel effect on the home page. The case was filed by Samuel Lit who holds a 2008 patent describing the carousel effect—an effect that’s easy to find on scores of websites.

Apple hit with lawsuit for website carousel effect

Apple hit with lawsuit for website carousel effect

A carousel is an effect where a group of images slide across a webpage one after another at a preset rate. Apple, like so many other sites, uses the effect to highlight different products.

Mr. Lit’s patent describes a system for feeding content into a carousel as well as displaying it on a website. His patent, number 8,793,330, covers an “information display system and method” and includes a description of images sliding across a page, three-dimensional effects, and functionality for uploading and downloading content, data collection, and generating revenue from content displayed in a carousel.

If Mr. Lit plans to go after other websites using carousel sliders, he’s going to be a very busy man. The WordPress plug-in repository, for example, currently lists 501 different carousel choices, and since WordPress is such a popular website platform it’s a safe bet thousands of sites are using the effect.

His previous attempts to cash in on the patent via his website tanked and the site shut down in December 2015. Since he hasn’t been able to find any other way to make money off his patent, it looks like he decided to try the litigation path instead.

Mr. Lit filed his case in Pennsylvania where he lives and is asking the court to force Apple to pay a reasonable royalty rate plus the maximum allowable interest rate.

[Thanks to Apple Insider for the heads up]

4 Comments Add a comment

  1. It seems to me that he patented a method for creating a carousel. I don’t think he should be able to patent the idea of a carousel, so unless someone is using his method, they should be free and clear.

    The Patent Office seems to be far to generous to applications that indicate an idea rather than a specific implementation of that idea, which is what the patent system is supposed to be about.

  2. I checked into it a bit and it appears that Apple and others were using this effect well before his 2008 patent.
    Never should have been granted
    He should have to pay defendants legal costs.

  3. @ sed
    I read through the patent in question thoroughly and this guy did not even describe HOW he was going to accomplish his carousel of images. He described the IDEA of a carousel of images and data. His images are all data pages he was going to display. He is attempting to patent the IDEA, something inherently not patentable. He has some boxes on a chart that represent “engines” to do things, but he does not describe HOW they do what he claims they are going to do these things, just that they will.

    His claims could be describing webpages to display anything, except he describes the images moving. Whoop-De-Doo. Apple was doing all of this prior to his application date in 2008.

  4. Richard Kahn

    How did this vague idea get patented in the first place? Isn’t there something called “prior art” that covers this “problem”. the use of a “carousel ” effect has been used on computers for decades now. the patent office need a complete overhaul to bring it’s function into the 21st century. Call your Representative and Senator to complain about this.

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