Newer innovations land in soup, face lawsuits

By siliconindia   |   Tuesday, 30 December 2008, 03:16 Hrs   |    1 Comments
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Thumbnails are in the news once again, and this time it is not for their property to provide previews of programs to the users. A Michigan based networking company; Cygnus Systems has filed a lawsuit against newer innovations by technology majors Google, Microsoft and Apple, alleging that all the three-tech giants violated a patent it owns on the use of document-preview icons--or thumbnails--in operating systems.

Google's Chrome, Microsoft's Vista and Internet Explorer 8, and Apple's iPhone, Safari, and Mac OS X have been targeted as patent infringers, as the technology covered by the patent has been described as "methods 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 one or more computer files."

In the suit, Cygnus Systems targets the majors as patent infringers. Apple uses the patent-protected technology in its Finder and Cover Flow Mac OS X features, the lawsuit claims. According to Ars Technica, which appeared to report the case first, Cygnus was granted the patent in March 2008, although it first applied for it back in 2001 as a continuation to a 1998 application.

According to PC World, the case was filed in the U.S. District Court in Arizona, where company owner Gregory Swartz lives. Cygnus is seeking damages and a permanent injunction to prevent further alleged infringement. It has also indicated that it might go after other companies as defendants.

Intriguingly, e-mails seeking comment from Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Cygnus' attorneys were not immediately returned.

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