updated 09:35 am EDT, Fri March 21, 2008
Apple Time Machine lawsuit
Apple is now facing its first lawsuit involving Time Machine, court filings show. The Texan company Mirror Worlds has accused Apple of infringing on four patents: three of these relate directly to a "document stream operating system," while the fourth covers an attached information management system. The document streams depicted group many different file types together, arranged chronologically and in piles; this most closely resembles the Time Machine backup software in Mac OS X Leopard, but may also cover the sorting system on iPods and iPhones, for chronological items like podcasts.
Mirror Worlds elaborates on its complaint by suggesting that Apple knew of the patents as far back as 2001, although this predates the development of either podcasts or Time Machine by several years. It may be that as in ZapMedia's combination iPod/iTunes lawsuit, Mirror Worlds brought the patents to Apple for licensing, and now believes they were later copied despite being formally rejected. The former company is asking for an injunction as well as damages.