LAWSUIT MAGNET Apple has managed to annoy a relatively unknown software developer, Softview, into a patent battle.
Softview filed its patent back in January 2005, entitled "Scalable display of internet content on mobile devices", which essentially is a method for web pages to be scaled in order to display them on devices with small screens, such as the Iphone. The patent also describes a method for zooming in and out of web pages.
Given that Apple is already fending off Nokia in separate disputes, one would think that a simple countersuit, regardless of merit, would be enough to put the frighteners on this pesky challenger. But the company, whose website can most kindly be described as 90s web kitsch, decided to go all out and include US mobile operator and sole Iphone peddler AT&T in the lawsuit.
Softview, a company that supposedly has been "developing award winning Vector Graphics Display systems and Internet standards since 1982", seems to think that AT&T had a hand in infringing on its hard work, which the firm displays in all its glory through a Flash based "technology overview" using an equally ghetto Sony Clié.
Frankly, the firm will have a hard time convincing people that it is serious, let alone has the resources to go up against two companies who can both afford platoons of lawyers that outnumber Softview's employees many times over.
While Softview has decided to go after AT&T and Apple, two of the most powerful companies in the US, other firms such as Microsoft, Google, Nokia, HTC and just about any company that flogs, subsidises or merely bundles software that scales web pages onto devices will be keeping a close watch on this.
For once, Apple might quietly gain the support of its rivals. µ