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Encyclopedia > Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp
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Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 35 F.3d 1435 (1994) was a copyright infringement lawsuit in which Apple Computer sought to prevent Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard from using visual graphical user interface (GUI) elements that were similar to those in Apple's Lisa and Macintosh operating systems. Some critics claimed that Apple was really attempting to gain all intellectual property rights over the desktop metaphor for computer interfaces, and perhaps all GUIs, on personal computers. Apple lost all claims in the lawsuit, except that the court ruled that the trash can icon and file folder icons from Hewlett-Packard's now-forgotten NewWave windows application were infringing. The lawsuit was filed in 1988 and lasted four years; the decision was affirmed on appeal in 1994, and the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court by Apple was denied. Jump to: navigation, search Court citation is a standard system used in common law countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia to uniquely identify the location of past court cases in special series of books called reporters. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1994 was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International year of the Family. ... Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of copyrighted material in a manner that violates one of the copyright owners exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works that build upon it. ... Jump to: navigation, search Apple Computer, Inc. ... Jump to: navigation, search Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) (HKSE: 4338) is the worlds largest software company, with global annual sales in the tens of billions of US dollars and nearly 60,000 employees in more than 90 countries. ... The Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), commonly known as HP, is a very large, global company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States. ... Jump to: navigation, search A graphical user interface (or GUI, sometimes pronounced gooey) is a method of interacting with a computer through a metaphor of direct manipulation of graphical images and widgets in addition to text. ... Jump to: navigation, search Apple Lisa The Apple Lisa was a revolutionary personal computer designed at Apple Computer during the early 1980s. ... Jump to: navigation, search Apple iMac G5 desktop computer with Apple Remote attached to the side, and Front Row on the display. ... Jump to: navigation, search In computing, an operating system (OS) is the system software responsible for the direct control and management of hardware and basic system operations. ... Jump to: navigation, search In law, particularly in common law jurisdictions, intellectual property or IP refers to a legal entitlement which sometimes attaches to the expressed form of an idea, or to some other intangible subject matter. ... NewWave was an object-oriented graphical desktop environment and office productivity tool for PCs running early versions of Windows (beginning with 2. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) is a leap year starting on a Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1994 was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International year of the Family. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States...


Apple had previously agreed to license certain parts of its GUI to Microsoft for use in Windows 1.0. When Microsoft made large improvements in Windows 2.0, such as overlapping windows and other more Macintosh-like GUI features, Apple filed suit, and then added additional claims to the suit when Windows 3.0 debuted. Jump to: navigation, search Microsoft Windows 1. ... Jump to: navigation, search Microsoft Windows 2. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Windows 3. ...


Apple claimed the "look and feel" of the Macintosh operating system, taken as a whole, was protected by copyright, and that each individual element of the interface (such as the existence of windows on the screen, the fact that they are rectangular, the fact that they are resizable, the fact that they overlap, and the fact that they have title bars) was not as important as all these elements taken together. After long argument, the judge insisted on an analysis of specific GUI elements that Apple claimed were infringements. Apple came up with a list of 189 GUI elements; the judge decided that 179 of these elements had been licensed to Microsoft in the Windows 1.0 agreement, and most of the remaining 10 elements were not copyrightable—either they were unoriginal to Apple, or they were the only possible way of expressing a particular idea. Look and feel refers to design aspects of a graphical user interface - in terms of both colours, shapes, layout, typefaces, etc (the look); and, the behaviour of dynamic elements such as buttons, boxes, and menus (the feel). It is used in reference to both software and websites. ... Jump to: navigation, search For copyright issues in relation to Wikipedia itself, see Wikipedia:Copyrights. ...


In an odd twist midway through the suit, Xerox filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming Apple had infringed copyrights Xerox held on its GUIs. Xerox had invested in Apple and had invited the Macintosh design team to view their GUI computers at the PARC research lab; these visits had been very influential on the development of the Macintosh GUI. The Xerox case was dismissed on a technicality. Xerox Corporation NYSE: XRX is the worlds largest document-management company, providing the industrys broadest range of color and black-and-white printers, multifunction systems, copiers, digital production printing presses, and related consulting services and supplies. ... Jump to: navigation, search Apple iMac G5 desktop computer with Apple Remote attached to the side, and Front Row on the display. ... Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) was a flagship research division of the Xerox Corporation, based in Palo Alto, California, USA, which essentially created the modern personal computer paper paradigm. ...


Impact

Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp. was the most complicated software copyright lawsuit to date, and was followed with great interest by software developers and the Macintosh user community. Some observers cast Apple as the villain, saying that after failing in the marketplace, it was trying to use the courts to corner the market on an idea that was benefiting the world, and if Apple won, a precedent would be set allowing big companies to use the courts to squash all software developers' freedom to innovate when creating products that at all resembled the big companies' products. Apple's critics added that even if this were legally and ethically correct behavior, Apple wasn't even the inventor of the GUI or the desktop metaphor in the first place. Others said Microsoft were the bad guys, brazenly stealing from Apple's work and flouting the law, and that if Microsoft won, a precedent was set that would allow big companies to steal the core concepts from any software developer's work and get away with it. A software developer is an entity, either a company or individual, that creates software. ...


As it happened, the court's approach seemed to invalidate the copyrighting of a broad "look and feel" of a piece of software, though this was not decisively stated in the court's ruling. The fact that Apple and Microsoft had entered into the licensing agreement for Windows 1.0 made a large part of the case a mere contractual matter rather than a matter of copyright law — much against Apple's preference — so it was not necessary for the court to set a precedent in its ruling. It remains unclear what would have happened if Apple had acquired a software patent purporting to secure the "look and feel" of the Macintosh user interface as an invention, and had then pursued Microsoft and HP under patent law. Jump to: navigation, search For copyright issues in relation to Wikipedia itself, see Wikipedia:Copyrights. ... Software patents and patents on computer-implemented inventions (CII) are a class of patents and one of many legal aspects of computing. ...


As if it were a postscript to the case, Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple in 1997; among other announcements about several areas of cooperation between the two companies, it was noted that the arrangement would include a final settlement between the companies on all infringement questions regarding the Lisa and Macintosh GUI. Jump to: navigation, search 1997 (MCMXCVII) is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In recent years, Apple has resumed threats of litigation in this area. A common target has been Stardock, whose CEO Brad Wardell once joked that Apple's lawyers had him on speed-dial. Apple was not pleased when skins and themes for WindowBlinds, IconPackager and DesktopX looking similar to their Aqua GUI were released in mid-2000, over six months before the release of Mac OS X. Jump to: navigation, search Stardock Corporation is a software development company founded in 1991 and incorporated in 1993 as Stardock Systems, later known as Stardock. ... Brad Wardell Bradley R. Wardell (born 24 June 1971 in Texas), commonly known as Brad Wardell, is an American residing in Michigan. ... In computing, skins and themes are custom graphical appearances (GUIs) that can be applied to certain software and websites in order to suit the different tastes of different users. ... Jump to: navigation, search In computing, a theme is a preset package containing graphical appearance details, used to customise the look and feel of (typically) an operating system, widget set or window manager. ... WindowBlinds is a computer program that allows users to skin the Windows graphical user interface. ... IconPackager changes all icons at once IconPackager is a computer program by Stardock that allows the changing of icons for the Microsoft Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/2003 graphical user interface. ... Jump to: navigation, search DesktopX is a shareware desktop enhancement program that allows users to build their own custom desktops with a friendly GUI. Amongst its features is a complete widget engine for Windows as well as a desktop object system. ... Mac OS X 10. ... Jump to: navigation, search Mac OS X is an operating system designed and developed by Apple Computer for use on their current line of Macintosh computers. ...


Other GUI borrowing

Apple has also copied certain innovations from other companies: tabbed dialogs on Macintosh appeared after IBM used them in OS/2. Since the original settlement of the lawsuit, many features of the Macintosh and Windows GUIs have been incorporated into the windowing environments of unrelated third-parties, such as OpenWindows, X11, and Solaris. While it could be argued that the Mac OS X dock is derived from the Windows taskbar, the case is actually that the MacOS dock is descended from the NeXTSTEP dock - OS X itself originating from NeXTSTEP. However, the idea of a program taskbar or dock is a major design feature of RISC OS, which already featured its so-called iconbar as early as 1987. OpenWindows file manager OpenWindows was a graphical user interface server for Sun Microsystems workstations which handled SunView, NeWS, and X Window System protocols. ... In computing, the X Window System (commonly X11 or X) is a windowing system for bitmap displays. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Solaris Operating System is a computer operating system, based on the open-source UNIX SunOS developed by Sun Microsystems. ... Jump to: navigation, search Mac OS X is an operating system designed and developed by Apple Computer for use on their current line of Macintosh computers. ... NeXTSTEP Desktop NEXTSTEP is the original object-oriented, multitasking operating system that NeXT Computer, Inc. ... RISC OS (Reduced Instruction Set Computing Operating System) is a British GUI operating system for ARM-processor based computers or similar devices. ...


 
 

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