Apple, Microsoft, Google Hit with Icon Patent Suit

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Apple, Microsoft and Google are all looking at more potential court time now that Cygnus Systems is suing the companies over claims that they are violating a patent it holds. The patent in question describes using icons to preview files before opening them -- a feature common to many applications.

The suit specifically identifies Mac OS X and its Cover Flow feature, Apple's Safari Web browser tabbed interface, the iPhone interface, Microsoft's Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 8 Web browser, and Google's Chrome Web browser for Windows.

Cygnus Systems is asking the court for the usual damages including compensation for the infringement, court costs, a permanent injunction against the named companies selling infringing products, along with anything else the court feels like tossing its way. The likelihood, however, that the court would issue an injunction prohibiting the sale of products that are named in the suit is slim.

The case was filed by Cygnus Systems in the fourth district U.S. court in Arizona, and the company is asking for a jury trial.

[Thanks to Macworld for the heads up.]




Does the term “prior art” mean anything to the patent office these day? “Prior art for a patent (application) means anything published before the filing date of the patent which describes the same or a similar invention.
By IT-lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet.

Here is a link to what prior art is all about.


I seem to remember a number of apps that had this kind of funtionality years ago. The comments on the original MacWorld article mentioned spacific apps from Adobe and others plus Win95 having something along these lines. 

I was not a fan when I first heard about it, but lawsuits like this make me start thinking that a ‘loser pays everyones legal costs’ system might have some advantages.

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