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Apple Sued For Using Tabs In OS X Tiger

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the trolls-on-the-march dept.

Patents 435

rizzo320 writes "AppleInsider is reporting that an Illinois-based company and its Nevada partner have filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc., alleging that Mac OS X 10.4 'Tiger' infringes an interface patent relating to the OS's nearly universal use of tabs. The suit was filed in the patent troll's and forum shopper's favorite venue: Marshall, TX. The patent in question is 5072412, which was originally issued to Xerox in 1987, but is now owned or licensed to IP Innovation LLC and its parent Technology Licensing Corporation. 'Category dividers triggered by Spotlight searches, as well as page tabs in the Safari web browser, bear the closest similarity to the now 20-year-old description' of the patent, according to the article. IP Innovation is requesting damages in excess of $20 million and an injunction against future sales and distribution of Mac OS X 10.4. Software patent reform can't come soon enough!"

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Mozilla? (5, Interesting)

Ironix (165274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18851959)

So... Why did they suddenly decide to go after Apple now when Mozilla has been in, urm, flagrant violation of this supposed patent for much longer than Apple?

Re:Mozilla? (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18851967)

Apple's got money.

Re:Mozilla? (3, Insightful)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852023)

Why not against IE7/Microsoft ?
They certainly got more cash :)

Re:Mozilla? (5, Insightful)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852073)

They've got too much money (for lawyers).

Re:Mozilla? (4, Interesting)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852141)

I think this response has merit.

Apple have lost several high-profile patent cases in the last year or two. They'll probably hit Apple first and see if it works, then use the decision against anyone else they feel is infringing. It'll be harder for MS to throw money at it if one judge has already decided that tabbing infringes.

Opera next? (1)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852529)

Opera could be a good second target. Not too much money, but not too small a company.

These patent lawsuits are getting ridiculous.

Cashcows (5, Insightful)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852225)

IANAL, so let me rephrase that in layman's terms.

The patent basically looks like it covers anthing resembling a modern user interface.
The patent more specifically stresses mechanics like the Opera/IE/Mozilla browser tabs, spreadsheet "workbooks", the Windows taskbar, you name it.
So, in other words, just about any software on the market today.
Well, that's what I seemed to gather from the passing glance I gate the patent text. So I might be wrong. Please correct me if that's the case.

Assuming I'm right, this is a "blanket patent" that can be sicced on anybody they chose to.
One would expect them to go after several small companies at once, with several lesser damage claims, companies that might not afford to pay a lawyer.

Instead, they go after a rather large company (again, correct me if I'm wrong, but Apple is a pretty big company), and claim a relatively unimpressive sum (20+ mil).
I could only suppose again that damage claims must be related to number of users that the product was sold to (or somesuch).
Still, going after Microsoft and claiming damage for... heh... EVERYTHING Windows and Windows-based Microsoft ever made and sold, now that would be a huge sum we're talking about.
Claiming Apple wouldn't have the money to go into court for this is pretty ridiculous... well, unless, maybe they're counting on Apple settling out of court for such a paltry sum ?

I can only hope they get smashed in court, and smashed good.

Re:Cashcows (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852289)

No.

The mechanism which you describe is used in the porn, ad, etc industries where the small guys have positive cash flow and something can be collected out of them. That is not valid for most small guys in the software industry. Further to this, there are not that many small guys that do stuff that do anything new and UI related. Most just reuse what is supplied to them in the latest SDK and do not do anything new.

As far as the claim size, it is aimed to make Apple seriously consider settling.

If they settle there is enough war chest to pay for a couple of legal daisycutters to be dropped on some small guys (if you find any to drop it in the first place, no small commercial UI companies left around). There will also enough money to lob one big bunkerbuster at Redmond and fight a properly sized claim.

Re:Cashcows (4, Funny)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852305)

Oh come now... It can be rephrased much more simply...

It's like a 3-ring binder, but "on the internet!"®©

All rights reserved. "on the internet!" is a registered trademark of Patent Trolls Inc.

Re:Cashcows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852341)

People forget, but back in the days of yor when the world was florescent green, or orange, ascii characters were commonly used to draw visual metaphores. If someone wrote a contact management program themselves it was probably MOST common for them to use ascii characters to draw tabbed "cards" not unlike Rolodex cards one might find in a Rolodex. Its absolutely obvious to me that if ANYONE ownes a patent on tabs on computer interfaces that it is Rolodex, even if they're not the first company unite the two. That it's their metaphore digitally extended seems pretty much beyond debate.

Re:Mozilla? (1)

1337Garda (1011059) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852031)

So why not microsoft?

It works like this (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852215)

First you test the waters with one infringing company. Get some cash out of it, then chase the others.

This approach has numerous benefits. It reduces your cash outlay (lawyer' fees) and risk. Secondly, once you have a judgement in your favour then it is easier to pick off the others with less court costs etc. It is probably easier to chase Apple than MS, so wait until you have more strength to chase them. Opera is too hard to chase (Offshore)

Re:Mozilla? (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852041)

Can you lose rights to a patent for not protecting it?

Re:Mozilla? (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852155)

Can you lose rights to a patent for not protecting it?
IANAL, but no.

However, if you don't go after infringements in a timely fashion (e.g. wait for the patent to become an industry standard, or wait for the target company to become successful), then you risk losing rights.

Re:Mozilla? (5, Funny)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852473)

Can you lose rights to a patent for not protecting it?
IANAL, but no.

However, if you don't go after infringements in a timely fashion (e.g. wait for the patent to become an industry standard, or wait for the target company to become successful), then you risk losing rights.
Sooo... Yes?

No (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852161)

That only applies to trademarks

Re:Mozilla? (1)

barn3y (1027462) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852057)

Apple's got money.
That doesn't make the patent system any less broken.

Re:Mozilla? (5, Funny)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852385)

That doesn't make the patent system any less broken.

I think you're missing out on the point of patents. When the framers of the Constitution set up the trademarks, copyrights, and patent law it was specifically for a case like this. They imagined that old man Wilcox would invent an idea and patent it, but without any resources to develop his idea, he'd sit on his patent and wait. Then when rich old Farmer Gray took his new farming device to market 15 years later and proved to be a financial hit at the farmer's markets Wilcox would swoop in unveiling his submarine patent and demand a piece of the action, if not take over the device entirely from Gray! Early capitalism at its finest.

Re:Mozilla? (1, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852461)

Whoa, wait a minute. You think the "framers of the Constitution" set up the current system of trademarks, copyrights and patent law?

Do you also think the "framers" are responsible for the current IRS tax law?

Career bureaucrats and smarmy politicians have corrupted much of our legal system beyond all recognition by the sainted "framers".

Re:Mozilla? (2, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852247)

So... Why did they suddenly decide to go after Apple now when Mozilla has been in, urm, flagrant violation of this supposed patent for much longer than Apple?
Apple's got money.
Apple also has a high profile and a loyal customer following that borders on being a fan-base which ensures that this will be publicized by every Apple centric website and patent abolishment preaching nerd site on the net. This in turn will ensure that the main stream media will eventually pick up on it and bring it to the attention of the target audience which is the rest of the Software industry thus ensuring they get their FUD into the widest possible circulation completely free of charge.

And that concludes my conspiracy theory...

Re:Mozilla? (1)

daniel_newton (817437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852355)

Isnt Mozilla raking it in (via Google)?

Patent expired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852097)

I thought that patents expired after 20 years. Hypothetically, they could sue for past damages, but an injunction makes no sense on an expired (or about to expire) patent.

Re:Patent expired? (3, Informative)

drphil (320469) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852197)

This patent issued in 10 Dec 1991. At that time in the US, a patent was in force 17 years after issue - so that patent becomes public domain in Dec 2008 giving it another 20 months. Since then, when the US changed its rules a few years ago to get closer to the practice in the rest of the world, new patents are now in force for 20 years from the date of application.

Re:Mozilla? (2, Funny)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852117)

Why did they suddenly decide to go after Apple now when Mozilla has been in, urm, flagrant violation of this supposed patent for much longer than Apple?
Mozilla holds a patent for tabs in a browser.

Re:Mozilla? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852137)

Wasn't that an April fools'?

Re:Mozilla? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852183)

So... Why did they suddenly decide to go after Apple now when Mozilla has been in, urm, flagrant violation of this supposed patent for much longer than Apple?

Mozilla? Think farther back than that. OS/2 had tabs close to 15 years ago and I'm sure it wasn't the first either.

This really makes my (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18851963)

balls itch.

Is there an English version of this patent? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18851971)

Seriously, I tried to read the patent text, but I didn't even get halfway through and my head is still spinning. Can anyone give an English translation of it?

Re:Is there an English version of this patent? (-1, Troll)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18851995)

Apple's screwed.

From a brief read, the patent looks valid and pretty much defines a tabbed interface. Sure I'm not a patent lawyer, but I've spent months sifting through patents tryiung to make sense of them.

People bitch about software patents, but in reality they are not that different from any other patents. In any fast growing field, the people on the cutting edge would see applications that are obvious with any hindsight. Unfortunately they need not be that obvious at the time to the USPTO who likely are not that familiar with the material.

Re:Is there an English version of this patent? (5, Informative)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852039)

People bitch about software patents, but in reality they are not that different from any other patents.

Or, to put it another way, you have no idea what you're talking about. Software patents are totally different from normal patents because they protect ideas instead of implimentations. This is inevitable since software is almost always translated from a source language, which is often a trade secret. If software patents were the same as normal ones it would be the details of this source code which is protected (as it is by copyright law already). Allowing patents on software extends the protection to any implimentation in any language and often with any algorithm. This is vastly more protection than a normal patent which covers only one, clearly defined, method and effectively allows a software patent to lock up an entire idea or concept.

Additionally, this patent covers something which is as old as the hills. Tabs for organising pages are almost as old as paper itself. Putting that onto a computer simulation of paper is not something that should be patentable at all.

TWW

Re:Is there an English version of this patent? (3, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852527)

To put it another way, this is like being able to patent the gasoline engine.

If it transforms gasoline into motive force, it's in violation of the patent. You could build a gasoline powered steam engine and it'd be infringing. The patent could have been for a 2 stroke, then a company comes along and starts mareting a rotary engine and the patent holder sues.

Tabs have been used to assist in organizing and finding specific parts of paper-based information for ages. Desktops, filing cabinets, trash cans and many other objects have made appearances in GUIs, so why not tabs?

Re:Is there an English version of this patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852067)

IANAL but I would assume a 20 year old patent would be invalid today making future software safe to use this so-called invention.

Re:Is there an English version of this patent? (4, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852139)

People bitch about software patents, but in reality they are not that different from any other patents.

The only reason you are right about that, is because patents are horribly broken in lots of fields - pharmaceuticals, for example.


They often do not work anything like as well as they are supposed to in advancing technology, and they do a lot to impose extra costs and barriers to entry.


People on Slashdot dislike software patents in particular, partly because they are particularly bad, and partly because that is what they know most about. There is also very good evidence that software patents do not work because software only recently became patentable. Technology did not advance any faster after this, therefore software patents do not work. We do not have as solid evidence on other types of patents.


See my past Slashdot comments and my blog for more.

Re:Is there an English version of this patent? (1)

TheJasper (1031512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852187)

Apple's screwed.
Not hardly. They can certainly pay the damages if it comes that far. Certainly that is all that the suing party is after. They might be inconvenienced if it forces them to stop selling their OS, but that will be temporary at best(worst).

People bitch about software patents, but in reality they are not that different from any other patents. In any fast growing field, the people on the cutting edge would see applications that are obvious with any hindsight. Unfortunately they need not be that obvious at the time to the USPTO who likely are not that familiar with the material.

IANAL, but even if software patents are just like others this doesn't mean the patents are a good thing. It might just mean the whole patent system is corrupt. I certainly wonder if it achieves the goal it was created for, namely to get people to reveal their techniques while giving them a chance to profit off of it. Also, the fact that the people at the USPTO don't have the qualifications to pass judgement on patents they approve doesn't speak well of the USPTO.

Re:Is there an English version of this patent? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852229)

So if I file some lawsuit about some ancient patent against you, and make sure you are able to pay whatever I ask in damages, you won't feel screwed and just pay me?

Re:Is there an English version of this patent? (1)

TheJasper (1031512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852263)

Sure, but in this case I interpreted the original post as meaning that apple has already lost the battle and is in trouble. Even so, its also a matter of scale. 20 mill aint notthing, but it also isn't going to hurt Apple alot. Now sue *ME* for 20 mill and I'll be declaring bankruptcy. That is screwed.

Useful timing (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18851975)

Thats useful timing.

When is 10.5 coming out?

Re:Useful timing (4, Funny)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852339)

A month or so after the one programmer left at apple finishes the iPhone.

Industry & Joe Public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18851983)

When are industry or joe public going to stand up say enough is enough?

I watch this from another country and can't believe what I see...

Marshall, TX (2, Interesting)

sharp-bang (311928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852013)

So why is Marshall, Texas such a great venue for patent extortion? The city's web [marshall-chamber.com] pages [marshalltexas.net] don't seem to have an answer, but it does seem to be a nice place.

One wonders if this boils down to a single judge, who might appreciate a free MacBook.

Re:Marshall, TX (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852219)

Because of the judges (especially T John Ward and Leonard Davis) sets quick trial dates and short discovery deadlines. This saves lawyer spendings and results in quicker cases. Also the local jurors in the area seem to rule in favour of plaintiff more often than not in patent cases.

See Texas IP rocket docket [law.com] .

Re:Marshall, TX (5, Informative)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852269)

So why is Marshall, Texas such a great venue for patent extortion? The city's web [marshall-chamber.com] pages [marshalltexas.net] don't seem to have an answer, but it does seem to be a nice place.

One wonders if this boils down to a single judge, who might appreciate a free MacBook.
The judge T. John Ward has a reputation for pushing through a speedy trial (which also means less time to find prior art), and to usually side with the patent holder. http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16280 ,300,p1.html [technologyreview.com]

"Juries in East Texas, unlike those in Houston, Dallas or Austin, are much less likely to have a member with any technical training or education, which exacerbates the problem from the defense perspective, but makes East Texas federal courts an attractive venue for would-be plaintiffs, who know that the jury will, instead, gravitate toward softer or superficial issues that are difficult to predict." http://www.wsgr.com/news/PDFs/09202004_patentpirat es.pdf [wsgr.com]

Re:Marshall, TX (2, Informative)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852299)

In particular, Ward has a reputation as being extremely willing to hand out injunctions on very flimsy grounds. This helps the patent troller put significant pressure on the defending company to settle with them.

Maybe (5, Funny)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852021)

What a joke. Maybe they should go and get the manilla folder people in on this too, because of their ingenious system of tabbed browsing.

ATTN: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852025)

http://trollscore.y7.yi.org/ [yi.org]

No censorship. No fascism. No Zonk.

Birth of GUI (4, Insightful)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852049)

It's gotta be said that Xerox is responsible for most of the GUI's we see nowadays, and if anyone has a right to tabs or anything else in that area, they do, they did a hell of a lot of innovation. But the terms for patents in IT are far too long, and it is kinda unfair that Apple is singled out as well.

Re:Birth of GUI (1)

grahamlee (522375) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852107)

Xerox have had 25 years to go after Apple, and almost as long to go after Microsoft, for half-inching the GUI. They never did...probably because they were never really in a position to exploit any of the stuff which PARC came up with.

Re:Birth of GUI (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852311)

That fact that Apple paid Xerox to use what they saw at PARC probably factored into it too. You can't really sue a company for using what you willingly sold them...

Re:Birth of GUI (4, Insightful)

bursch-X (458146) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852331)

This is complete bullshit, when Apple visited Xerox and got their inspiration, Xerox merely had a bunch of demos, not even a complete system yet (that came later). Things like doubleclicking, click and drag, pull-down menus, the desktop metaphor, copy and paste are all inventions that happened at Apple not at Xerox.

Xerox came up with an implementation of a new way to interface with computers, that had been talked about since quite a while, Apple made it into a usable system and came up with most of the way we interact with computers nowadays.

Re:Birth of GUI (5, Insightful)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852365)

Let me reprise a comment of mine from several months previous:

Ford didn't invent the assembly line. The Wright brothers didn't invent the airplane. Wanamaker didn't invent the department store. Edison didn't invent the light bulb.

All these people derived inspiration from their contemporaries. All they did was "steal" ideas from others and make them better.

Steve Jobs' saying, that "real artists ship," is right on the money. Production, after all, has a more lasting impact than theory and prototype.

The Apple Lisa had tabs! (5, Informative)

pammon (831694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852051)

Tabbed UI, Apple Lisa, circa 1980. Screenshots [folklore.org] , story [folklore.org] .

Screenshots (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852157)

Gotta love those screenshots!

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852185)

Apple ProDOS had tabs, too.

If something has a real-world example, it's obvious if it's implemented in software, indeed the real world example should be considered "prior art".

--
BMO

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (1)

Xyde (415798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852207)

Also of note in the first image, It looks like Apple did briefly toy with the idea of having the menu bar on the window (like how Windows does it), but then scrapped that for the single menu bar at the top of the screen as we have now.

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852223)

> ...but then scrapped that for the single menu bar at the top of the screen as we have now.

unfortunately.

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852327)

> ...but then scrapped that for the single menu bar at the top of the screen as we have now.

unfortunately.

The only thing more pathetic than a PC user is a PC user trying to be a Mac user. We have a name for you people: switcheurs.

There's a good reason for your vexation at the Mac's elegant application of Fitts' Law, thereby avoiding that foolish consistency of which Emerson wrote: You don't speak its language. Remember that the Mac was designed by artists [atspace.com] , for artists [atspace.com] , be they poets [atspace.com] , musicians [atspace.com] , or avant-garde mathematicians [atspace.com] . A shiny new Mac can introduce your frathouse hovel to a modicum of good taste, but it can't make Mac users out of dweebs [atspace.com] and squares [atspace.com] like you.

So don't force what doesn't come naturally. You'll be much happier if you stick to an OS that suits your personality. And you'll be doing the rest of us a favor, too; you leave Macs to Mac users, and we'll leave beige to you.

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (1)

kg4czo (516374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852487)

So don't force what doesn't come naturally. You'll be much happier if you stick to an OS that suits your personality. And you'll be doing the rest of us a favor, too; you leave Macs to Mac users, and we'll leave beige to you.

Give it a rest already! I guess I'm what you would call a "switcheur" (as if that's supposed to be some derogatory remark or something).

I've been using my iMac now for a few months and I love it. I'm extremely comfortable with it. But then again, I'm comfortable with several flavors of Linux and BSD (command line and gui), a couple of flavors of commercial Unices, and of course Windoze. If you want to get vintage, I had a C=64 at home, and worked on a Apple IIe and a Trash-80 at school in the 80's. Now I can add OS X 10.4 to the mix and bring it all to a smooth consistency. By far I love my iMac over the rest.

I highly suggest you STFU.

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852551)

Actually, it sounds like you've been a latent Mac user all along. At the risk of spoiling the joke, the big secret here is that the vast majority of people belong to that club of creatives and different thinkers—The Rest of Us. So welcome home, fellow traveler.

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (4, Insightful)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852349)

Fortunately, you mean. Having a useless title bar consume one of the four extremely valuable screen edges and parking the menu under it is one of the most horrendously stupid violations of Fitts' law in the history of user interfaces.

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (4, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852377)

No, I mean unfortunately.

Fine, if you have only one window. In any case, if you do just use one window, you don't have to have the window border there.

Unfortunately, I use many windows, and when I use an Apple computer, I can have only one window visible, and still the menu is for the wrong application - not such a problem if I'm using a mouse and realise, but if I use keyboard accelerators, then I can get into all sorts of trouble before I realise it's not the correct application.

When it *is* the correct menu for the window I want, and I'm, say, using a window on the second monitor, I have to move the mouse all the way to the other monitor just to use the menu.

I used to use a computer with, IIRC, 18 monitors. I can't imagine what a pain in the rear end that would have been if it were running OSX.

It's oft claimed that it's easier to get to a menu when it's at the edge of the screen. That's true, though it is almost always further away (unless you only use one full screen window), and strangely enough, everything else on the screen requires precision mouse movements and because of that, I've become quite good at it - I don't need that kind of help, thanks!

It's brain dead, plain and simple.

(YMMV)

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (1)

dasmoo (1052358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852383)

>> ...but then scrapped that for the single menu bar at the top of the screen as we have now. >unfortunately. Fortunately for me. I always know where the File menu will be. Saves on fuckaround.

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852411)

Unfortunately, you don't always know it's for the right application...unless you happen to notice.

I always know where the file menu is on other OSes too - it's at the top left of the window I'm using. I don't have to go to a different monitor or move my mouse right the way across the screen to us it either.

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852533)

Yeah, using a WIMPs interface IS pretty tough if you can't fucking read.

Stupid cunt.

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852211)

Besides that... weren't the tabs actually invented by the person that invented folders for archiving documents [wikipedia.org] . You know, those paper things that computers started to mimic at a certain point.
IANAL but isn't that some sort of prior art? Sure it's not a digital tab, but should that matter?

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852291)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real [imageshack.us] Mac [imageshack.us] users [imageshack.us] . Keep your filthy, beige [imageshack.us] PC fingers to yourself.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852447)

You spelled Claris wrong, poseur.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852515)

If you think Clarus is a misspelling of Claris, you REALLY, REALLY need to get the FUCK off my platform. RIGHT. NOW.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852545)

Jesus what a cock the switcheur twitcheur is. Good catch.

You should have said "if you're a weird loseur who posts on Slashdot without even knowing how to spell the products you masturbate over - GTFO"

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (5, Funny)

Catil (1063380) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852371)

Tabbed UI, Agostino Ramelli, circa 1588. Screenshot [kirchersociety.org] , story [kirchersociety.org] .

Re:The Apple Lisa had tabs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852437)

Heh, mod parent up etc.

So did System 8 (1)

dysprosia (661648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852469)

Mac OS System 8 (IIRC) had tabs too, for spring-loaded folders.

Why can tabs be patended? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852115)

As far as I know tabs have existed and been popular long before computers even existed.

Biased Summary (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852125)

Im as much for patent reform as the next guy, but can we please have story summaries that state the NEWS ONLY?

Leave the comments ("patent troll", etc) for the, uh, comments.

Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (-1, Offtopic)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852145)

Hey, I'm trying to see how many people who have low ID numbers are still using Slashdot. I know there must be a bunch of people with ID numbers lower than mine.

Although I admit that it is stupid, I still wish that I had signed up for my ID sooner so that I could have an even lower one. When CmdrTaco announced on Slashdot that accounts were available (before that everyone just typed whatever nickname they wanted to in with their posting - remember that?!?) I didn't bother to sign up until there was a topic I actually wanted to post about a few days later. If only I had signed up as soon as I saw the announcement I know I'd be under 100!!!

Anyway, here's some stuff:

- I started reading Slashdot back in '97 (or was it '98? Not sure. It was when it was really new and far and away the best place to get geeky news, especially about Linux). I don't remember how I first heard of it.

- I remember when it was called "Slashdot: News for Nerds on the Stuff That Matters". I always thought that the dropping of the "on the" clause signalled a corresponding drop of the geek-relevency of the articles.

- When Slashdot subscriptions were announced in (when was it? 2000? 2001?) I sent in $100. My original subscription STILL HASN'T RUN OUT!!! Although I have used up almost 9000 out of the 10000 ad-free page views I bought.

- I think I have scanned (not necessarily read) every headline on Slashdot since 1998, except for a period of two or three months last year when I got fed up with the lameness of the newer Slashdot admins, and decided to stop reading it regularly. But I came back because, well, I really like Slashdot despite the Zonks of the world. I have checked Slashdot two or three times a day at least daily since 1998, and for those occasions where I was away from a computer for weeks at a time (on vacations and stuff), I would go back and look at every back story that I missed in that time. It would take me hours or days after a long trip to "catch up" on Slashdot ...

- Whatever happend to that JonKatz dude or whatever his name was? He was the cause of my first usage of the slashdot preferences settings - to ban him from my view of Slashdot

- Also, whatever happened to those really cool "Ask Joe Shmoe" stories or whatever they were called where all of the Slashdot community would come up with questions for a guest celebrity? I know they still do them every once in a while but back when there was one per week they were really cool.

- To show off my Slashdot-Geek factor: I got married in 1999. My wife, unbeknownst to me at the time, was preparing a little "time capsule" to represent our lives together as a gift on our wedding day. It sounds really cheesy I know but it really was an awesome and beautiful thing. She made it out of doll furniture and other custom miniaturized little bits and pieces, and it was a scene representing all of the things that we had in our lives, under a little half-dome of glass. There were little representations of our pets, my motorcycle, the magazines that I subscribed to at the time, her cooking paraphenalia, etc. Anyway, there was also a little laptop in there for me, and she got one of my co-workers to write her instructions on how to take a "screenshot" (using xwd I think) of my Linux system, and while I wasn't looking one day, she snapped my browser when it was on Slashdot, printed it out, and shrunk it down to like 2 cm by 1.5 cm. And so I have this little laptop in our time capsule that is showing a Slashdot page from sometime in 1999. That's how much of a Slash-geek I am - my wife knew back then that Slashdot was such a big thing for me that it was worth immortalizing in our wedding time capsule!

- I have been a huge fan of Slashdot over the years (obviously) but get really tired of the increasing tendency of the articles to simply be controversial topics to drum up the post count. The number of "Random idiot study group says Windows is more secure than Linux" type trolling is getting worse and worse. Also the tendency of the most mundane stories to be deemed newsworthy just because they have the word "blog" in the title grates on my nerves.

I'd be interested in hearing what the Slashdot experience of other old-timers has been like.

This post should be modded down off topic but I hope that it survives long enough to get some posts ... thanks!

Re:Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (1)

Skizmo (957780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852201)

Do you really think I'm going to reading this story ??

Re:Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (0, Offtopic)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852251)

Your Slashdot ID is not low so you are not a person I was targeting with this post. Feel free not to read it.

Re:Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (1)

jb.cancer (905806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852453)

CmdrTaco where are you when we need you!

Re:Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (1)

Reez (65123) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852241)

Hi, my ID is lower than 2^16. Oddly I never changed my email address from that time, so it's invalid for a long time now.

Re:Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (0, Offtopic)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852273)

When were 65K IDs being given out? I'm guessing in 1999 sometime?

Re:Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (1)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852489)

Probably, that's around the time I actually got off my arse (figuratively of course) and applied for one.

Re:Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852293)

Yeah, Slashdot has become a place for attention whores like Zonk who would cut off their own penis and throw it at you to get your attention.

http://trollscore.y7.yi.org/ [yi.org]

Re:Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852449)

This sound like a e-bay account buyer to me :P

Re:Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (1)

hrm (26016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852517)

As per that Jon Katz guy: he seemed to drop off the earth (well, at least slashdot) all of a sudden. I didn't have him blocked, cause I kinda liked his subjects, and still he disappeared without trace. If I were paranoidically inclined, I'd suspect a slashdot editor cover-up, they probably buried the body in the backyard under sheets of unused VA Linux call options, but really I can't be arsed to care.

I say I liked his stuff, but that'd be except for the "post-columbine world" and "the Net" nonsense. Oh, and his seemingly endless "quest to install linux" which was perhaps the worst tech writing/whining since Jerry Pournelle's monthly never-ending-stories on installing windows mouse drivers and shit like that in (the now defunct?) Byte magazine. Oh, and his movie reviews, which always had to tie in to columbine again and the net.

Anyhow, I googled for Katz once, and it seems now he is writing about dogs.

Re:Low Slashdot IDs Please Post Here (0, Offtopic)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852557)

I am a complete newbie compared to you, but I've seen my share of slashdot for quite a while in most people's time frames and I think you're on the same level as me.

I enjoy slashdot for the geeky news, for interesting articles, not for "This guy said Windows sucks" or "this guy wrote a song about this and that in Cuba". Geeks are quirky and like hacks as well as news, Slashdot needs more articles aimed to stimulate our minds not our post counts.

But hey you're not the only one who wants a lower ID. I dread to think that I'll be here in ten years and thought of as a low ID, but hey who knows.

what a mess (3, Funny)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852149)

i think all software patents should be banned, whos next? Opera or mozilla/firefox web browser? fluxbox?

maybe even closed source software should be outlawed and make ALL software mandatory opensource...

this is getting ridiculous...

You all miss the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852153)

Patents in general are ridiculous. They hold back the advancement of humankind at the expense of ensuring financial security.

We as a race do all this work, create all these wonderful tools....for what?! For the sake of business? Surely we could find a greater cause.

Why so late?? (3, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852283)

Oh wait, I guess it took them 2 years to learn how to write a letter.

What's the real story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852307)

If they're suing they presumably failed to convince Apple to license this amazing invention. Who else did they approach? Has a certain company licensed this patent knowing the trolls will cause undue harm to the software industry?

What are they basing damages on, what financial loss has this company (that produces no products) experienced because of Apple's UI design? I really hope Apple do the right thing and fight this one, software development in the US is going to reach a standstill unless this crap ends.

What other products infringe? Firefox, Java (JTabbedPane), Websites?

The C.Y.A. clause (1, Informative)

noobishness (1048406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852337)

From the USPTO document:

Although the invention has been described in relation to various implementations, together with modifications, variations and extensions thereof, other implementations, modifications, variations and extensions are within the scope of the invention. The invention is therefore not limited by the description contained herein or by the drawings, but only by the claims.
In other words, we've described what we think we're patenting, but it could be so much more! Please, dear USPTO, please give us a patent on anything that could ever possibly have any type of navigation structure! Next up for an infringement lawsuit: tabbed file folders!

All your tabs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852347)

All your tabs are belong to us!

To heck with patent reform (4, Insightful)

ricree (969643) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852361)

It seems to me that venue shopping is the thing that needs to go here. The idea that it is possible to pick and choose who gets to decide on the lawsuit based upon how easy it will be to win simply boggles the mind.

Reap what you sow.. (3, Interesting)

delire (809063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852391)

Worth mentioning that Adobe has a similar patent [espacenet.com] (ironically presented in a webpage that breaches both the aforementioned patent and this patent):

Abstract of EP0689133 A method for displaying on a computer screen multiple sets of information needed on a recurring basis, comprising the steps of: (1) Establishing an area on the computer screen in which the multiple sets of information are to be displayed, the established area having a maximum size which is substantially less than the entire area of the screen. (2) Providing within the established area a plurality of selection indicators, one for each of the multiple sets of information. (3) Selecting one of the multiple sets of information for display within the established area by pointing to one of the selection indicators within the established area, whereby the selected set of information will be substituted within the established area for the set of information previously being displayed therein. A selected set of information may also be moved out of the selected area by pointing to its selection indicator and dragging it away.
Anyway, you reap what you sow. Apple is a member of the Business Software Alliance, one of the heaviest lobbyists [ffii.org] in favour of software patents (and their synchronisation with the cannabilistic US model) here in the EU.

You're right (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852455)

There you have it. Apple, the cake, and eating it, etc.

Anyway, I hope that DRM will fall through as horribly as this will. Fucking hypocrites.

Re:Reap what you sow.. (1)

SenorCitizen (750632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852481)

Apple is a member of the Business Software Alliance, one of the heaviest lobbyists [ffii.org] in favour of software patents (and their synchronisation with the cannabilistic US model) here in the EU.
Now, the best solution to all would be to trash the US model and adopt the cannabinistic Netherlands model.

Ironic (1)

octal666 (668007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852397)

IP Innovation sues for a 20 years old patent they bought from Xerox... good thing those software patents things. It's a pitty the rest of patents don't go the same way, patenting the "four wheeled vehicle with engine" would have been a smart move.

Re:Ironic (2, Interesting)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852535)

The thing is that "four wheeled vehicle with engine" at one time would have been truly novel and patentable. As technologies progress, they're supposed to be compressed and the initial patents lapse and society goes on.

The problem with software patents is that software moves a lot more quickly than most kinds of manufacturing and design; it is also more likely with software that good ideas will be emulated across the board as users begin to expect it--to the point that it becomes standardized. The steering wheel, after all, is not the only possible navigation interface for a car. However, car users have come to expect it.

Other companies are supposed to license the really good ideas and adopt and improve upon them. You get to a mature system in which US car manufacturers all hold a number of patents, and all license patents from each other. No one gets saddled with dramatically higher or lower costs, and the companies all continue to innovate.

The big difference with software is that lots of companies don't want to license patents from each other, and innovation/evolution has occurred so fast that it's quite difficult to keep up. In 1981, a tabbed visual interface would have been groundbreaking. In 2007, filing that same patent would be absurd. The USPTO would be served quite well to implement mandatory licensing of software patents; patent owners could continue to reap the legitimate benefits of patents, while having each company pay a "bulk licensing fee" would prevent these infringement suits as a profiteering business model. It would lessen pressure on the courts and leave room for actual patent infringement suits to be heard LESS than two years after filing.

I hope Apple losses, adn does it badly. (4, Interesting)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852419)

It will not be until

a) Big companies are hurt badly by ludicrous patent claims.
b) They buy, I mean, lobby politicians to kill software patents in the US

that we will have something resembling sanity.

Companies can use copyright to protect what is theirs and shoulder the fact that other people will copy their good ideas, that would benefit everybody.

Ha! (1)

Rynth (1092427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852467)

Pfft, the way Jobsie robs us all blind, I'm sure its just Karmas way of getting back at him..

Fir5t (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18852471)

ops or any of the the project to where it was when *BSD has steadily Since then. More and c0mmittees 4, which by aal fate. Let's not be and that the floor

These guys really invented tabs! (1)

durin (72931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18852475)


I mean come on, their name is IP Innovation LLC ffs.
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