Google, Apple and Microsoft sued all together!

Yes people! You have heard something strange, but right! There is a company having sued Google, Apple, and Microsoft together. This company is none other than Cygnus systems, Inc. It’s one of the networking companies (Michigan-based). Cygnus got in to the jubilant mood after suing Google, Apple, and Microsoft for having violated a patent that was recently awarded to it. This patent consists of access and navigation of files that are based on ‘representational thumbnails’. The products such as Cover Flow feature of Apple, Chrome Browser of Google, and Vista of Microsoft have been cited with regard to infringement.

Cygnus is said to have sought permanent injunction and conventional damages which would prevent any infringement taking place further. At the same time, it’s also mentioning that such big 3 might not be sole companies after which it would go.

The patent into picture is US 7,346, 850, known as ‘System and method for iconic software environment management”. The abstract of this patent goes on to describe ‘a system and method to store, navigate, and access files present within operating system via usage of graphical thumbnail that would represent video display pertaining to active document inside active application’. To put it simple, patent awarded to Cygnus describes features identical to Apple’s Finder and Windows Explorer- Such applications make use of scaled-down previews for representing actual documents which have been browsed by PC users. This patent also includes things such as file icons which dynamically update for reflecting changes to contents of respective documents, along with ‘Speed Dial’ feature of Opera. This feature presents easy-access websites’ visual dashboard. Complaint by Cygnus also cites iPhone’s ‘accompanying iconic file preview and access functionality’ and tab thumbnails of Safari browser.

There are certain discrepancies with regards to this complaint by Cygnus, however, like targeting Google, that doesn’t actually make software ‘inside the OS’. Apart from all this, its claim stating that its patent has been infringed by Google by manufacturing, selling, using, and presenting Chrome web browser of Google for sale is a bit weird. At present, Google Chrome is being offered in the form of a download with respect to Windows Vista and XP SP2, absolutely free-of-cost.

Cygnus had filed the patent on 8th of June, 2001 in the form of continuation of one of the applications which was filed on 12th of June, 1998. This patent was, however, granted on 18th of March, 2008. Since then, Cygnus has lost no time in applying a ‘lawsuit strategy’ for recovering a prize of damages sufficient enough to have compensated plaintiff with regards to infringement which has taken place. Noteworthy is the fact that Cygnus is seeking loads of retroactive damages since date of infringement.

Google, Apple, and Microsoft aren’t likely of being the sole targets of Cygnus if the lawsuit is capable of getting anywhere. Several other products and companies like Opera, iPhoto, Adobe, Windows Mobile, even web services such as Flickr might all go on to infringe upon certain broad terms within Cygnus’ patent.

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