IP Troll Sues Microsoft, Apple And Google Over Image Previews

A small Indiana-based firm has sued some of the biggest tech behemoths, including the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Apple, saying that it owns a patent on general previewing feature used by most of the operating systems and browsers to show small images of the files before opening them.

In its legal suit, Cygnus Systems pointed out Microsoft’s Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 8, Google’s Chrome web browser, and Apple’s Safari, Mac OS X and iPhone, as the major infringers of the patent.

Apple apparently uses this patented technology in its Cover Flow and Finder features for its Mac OS X, the lawsuit by Cygnus claimed.

Matt McAndrews, a partner with the law firm representing Cygnus, asserted that Cygnus’s owner Gregory Swartz developed the technology in question while working on some projects related to IT consulting, and the company was awarded the patent in March 2008.

He further avowed that the company is seeking “a reasonable royalty” for using the technology, and court’s ruling to forbid further infringement.

The suit was filed in a US District Court in Arizona, where the firm owner Gregory Swartz resides, McAndrews added.

Cygnus applied for the patent, coded 7346850, back in 2001, and it includes, “System and method for iconic software environment management”, and was awarded the patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office in March 2008.

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Our Comments

Don't we all hate patent trolls? These companies are merely after tech companies to get big bucks and are an obstacle to innovation, with the lawyers being the only side that truly reaps the rewards. Note that Cygnus systems and Cygnus solutions are two different entities. Cygnus solutions merged with Red Hat back in 1999 and helped develop a number of key GNU products.

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