Google, Microsoft, Apple Sued By Cygnus Systems

Icon patent infringement alleged

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[ Technology]

On March 18th, a company called Cygnus Systems was granted a slightly dull-sounding patent for "System and Method for Iconic Software Environment Management."  Now, the development’s looking more significant, as Cygnus has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Google, Microsoft, and Apple.

First, a description of United States Patent No. 7,346,850.  According to an updated complaint Cygnus filed on December 26th, "The ‘850 Patent generally relates to methods of and systems for accessing one or more computer files via a graphical icon, wherein the graphical icon includes an image of a selected portion or portions of the one or more computer files."


Sound familiar?  Well, that seems to be Cygnus’s idea.  It noted that the operating systems and browsers produced by the three bigger corporations incorporate the concept, and asked for unspecified damages as a result.  Cygnus would appreciate receiving prejudgment interest, attorneys’ fees, and anything else the court sees fit, too.

Then here’s the real doozy: Cygnus is seeking "[a] permanent injunction prohibiting further infringement of the ‘850 Patent."

If necessary, Google, Microsoft, and Apple will surely fight all of this tooth and nail.  Whether even a smallish effort is necessary remains to be seen, however, since examples of prior art are abundant.  Hat tip goes to David Chartier.

Google, Microsoft, Apple Sued By Cygnus Systems
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  • Guest

    Maybe they don’t want to add ADOBE to this complaint because Photoshop has been doing this for years… maybe well back in the 1990’s …. oops! that would be before they applied for the patent on the idea of using a picture as an icon.

  • Guest

    When was this patent granted, ‘cos unless the year started with an 18 it is going to get laughed out of court. If the patent had any validity it would have belonged to Xerox, or Apple, or someone like that.

  • http://randomplaza.com Richard Mongler

    So they register a recent patent in bad faith, eh? At least they target rich companies that can afford the lawyers instead of small ones. Typical abuse of the legal system. This kind of thing is what got worldwide Scientology protests.

  • Pax

    It would seem fitting for Xerox to sue these guys over requesting a soon-to-be-nullified 2008 patent over something with a 1976 copyright in their name.

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