Of mice and pirates

I had always understood patents to be about the mechanism of the device, not it’s effect. E.g., a particular mouse trap design, not the idea of catching mice.

But what do I know? Squeak blogger Torsten turned me on to this article about some courtroom pirates suing Apple over the User Interface in their latest operating system release. The original patent was for an old Xerox UI implemented in Interlisp-D, and now owned by a holding company.

Apple’s Tiger operating system isn’t implemented in Lisp. Do you suppose the lawyers are basing their argument on Greenspun’s Tenth Rule?

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.

One Comment

  1. Mark Schuldenfrei

    If I recall, Xerox PARC once litigated against Microsoft for the same thing – and won a huge settlement from them.

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