Google, Microsoft, Apple Sued By Cygnus Systems

    December 29, 2008

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.