WhitServe sues Apple over patent infringement

Non-practicing entity WhitServe is taking Apple to court for allegedly infringing upon a file viewing patent.

The LLC claims that Apple's Quick Look function, which debuted in 2007 on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and now features on all current Macs, breaches its US Patent No. 7,921,139.

The patent, entitled "System for sequentially opening and displaying files in a directory," covers software able to open and close files in a near full-view mode. Quick Look enables Apple users to view the contents of folders without having to open them.

However, WhitServe's software, unlike Apple's, additionally allows users to view multiple files and edit them. WhitServe claims to licence the software to a variety of unnamed firms.

According to the complaint, the "harm to WhitServe resulting from the infringing acts of Apple is irreparable, continuing [and] not fully compensable by money damages."

WhitServe is therefore pursuing a "preliminary and permanent" injunction against the Cupertino company, in addition to damages and court fees.

WhitServe's application for the patent in question was submitted in 2006, but only granted on 5 April 2011.

This is the latest in a long line of patent issues experienced by Apple in recent months, and comes hot on the heels of the UK judgement on the Samsung/Apple case.