Hoping for some monetary damages, Hopewell Culture & Design have sued Apple and Android makers for the infringement of double-click patent.
The blog FOSS Patents said that the patent infringement relates to US Patent No. 7,171,625 that defines the double-click felony as double-clicking a point-and-click user interface apparatus to enable a new interaction with content represented by an active visual display element.
The patent exercised by Hopewell is not targeting the standalone double-clicking act as much as double clicking on an already selected content that leads to greater interactivity with content for example, twice clicking on the content leads to display it and allows editing of the content.
The companies mentioned in the filing include Apple, Motorola, HTC, LG, Samsung, Nokia, Adobe, Palm Opera and QuickOffice. The complaint was filed in the eastern district of Texas.
The patent was filed in 2002 and was awarded to Actify, a San Francisco-based software company. The patent filing states the use of the invention as the new type of interaction can be, for example, interaction with a new version of data representing the content (e.g., a version of data that represents the content or an aspect of the content with a different degree of detail), interaction in a new display window, interaction using a new computer program, and/or enablement of new functionality in the same computer program that enabled the original interaction.
However, the Hopewell Culture & Design patent filing is reflective of patent troll-like behavior. Patent trolls are companies that acquire patents not to manufacture products but primarily to gain licensing fees and royalties. Companies involved in using patents to manufacture products usually exercise patent rights to seek a permanent injunction to protect their market share unlike patent trolls that seek royalties.
Earlier this month, patent collecting company Intellectual Ventures, which was started by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, has filed patent lawsuits against nine companies which included McAfee, Symantec Corporation, Trend Micro, Check Point Software, Hynix Semiconductor and Elpida Memory.
Patent wars are seeing a surge. Recently Nokia filed a patent lawsuit against Apple, while Microsoft-led patent consortium CPTN Holdings acquired 882 Novell patents. The consortium includes Apple, EMC and Oracle as members and has raised concerns about the direction of intellectual property rights and their usage.
However, much of the activity has been in the smartphone industry where a single leader has still not emerged and thus companies are seeking patent injunctions to shield their market share, even as new entrants like Android and Apple's iPhone - companies that major in software -- have taken market share from companies like Nokia, whose core business is selling phones.