Sunday, 20 May 2012

Apple Sued Over Rotating Windows On iOS Devices

               The ability to turn your iPhone apparently violates a patent.

Apple Sued Over Rotating Windows On iOS Devices
A company called Rotatable Technologies has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Texas against Apple and several other defendants for patent infringement. The suit seeks injunctions against the infringing technologies (mostly apps, it seems), and unspecified damages.

The patent in question was awarded to Steven John Robbins in December of 2001. It covers “a display method for selectively rotating windows on a computer display,” which “allows the user to rotate the window about a preselected rotation point such as the upper left corner of the frame.” The suit alleges that seven defendants, including Apple, Netflix, Electronic Arts, Target, and Whole Foods Market (yes, really) infringe on the patent.

Now, at this point you may be wondering how, specifically, these various defendants infringe upon Rotatable Technolgies’s patent. Interestingly, the complaint doesn’t actually say. The unusually short document accuses each of the seven defendants “infringed one or more claims of the… patent.” That’s it. That’s all it says. Reading between the lines, it appears that the issue centers on the fact that Apple’s iOS platform allows users to rotate their phones in order to switch between portrait and landscape views. That, however, is a guess.

The complaint is quite clear, however, on what Rotatable Technologies wants from this lawsuit. The complaint asks the court for judgment that the patent has been infringed, a permanent injunction preventing infringement, and that the court award damages, interest on damages, and legal fees.

Interestingly, there appears to be very little information out there about Rotatable Technologies, LLC. The company does not appear to have a website, nor is there any clear information available on what they (supposedly) actually do. The patent can be read here, and the complaint is embedded below:
Rotatable Technologies

So, in summary, here’s what we have: a vaguely worded complaint against a wide array of defendants, a company that appears not to exist except for the purpose this suit and two others (one against Nokia, and one against Acer), and a patent that is, at best, only tangentially related to anything that Apple’s iOS platform actually does. Put it all together and you have as fine an example of a patent troll as you’re likely to find.

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