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Apple sued for allegedly copying patent with Disk Utility

updated 09:30 am EDT, Thu August 18, 2011

Software Restore Solutions claims Apple copying

Software Restore Solutions late Wednesday sued Apple (below) over claims Mac OS X copied its technology. According to the complaint, "at least" the Disk Utility feature in every version of Mac OS X from the 2001 original through to Snow Leopard copies one claim in a workgroup network manager patent from 1998. Apple supposedly knows the automated repair features could infringe on the patent but has shown "deliberate indifference" towards the consequences.

Despite the claims of possible awareness, it's not clear that SRS told Apple of the possible violations before filing the lawsuit. The claim, based out of a Northern District of Illinois court near SRS' home in Skokie, does seek the tripled damages for cases of knowing infringement.

SRS doesn't fit the traditional definition of a patent troll as it's filing based on its own location rather than a court likely to rule in its favor. Regardless, its history online shows primarily lawsuits, including a previous suit that also targeted Apple along with game developers like Blizzard, Sega, and THQ. The company itself doesn't have a website and, as a limited liability company (LLC) may exist solely for the purposes of collecting royalties from or suing other companies.

None of the involved sides have commented on the lawsuit. Apple typically doesn't discuss smaller lawsuits.

by MacNN Staff



  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the downside of having $76B in cash

    every two-bit con artist comes along with their hand out, hoping to shake you down for a measly $1M or so to go away and leave you alone.

  1. aduffbrew

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Over 10 years... Way to get right on that case of "knowing infringement!"

  1. Medazinol

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Uber patent troll

    SRS is just another one of several hundred front-companies for Patent Troll Extraordinaire, Nathan Myhrvold. Google Software Restore Solutions and you'll see his name pop up. He's also behind the Lodsys front-company amongst many many others. This guy is unbelievable, a modern-day technology mob boss.

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    generic computer operation patent

    patent abstract: A workgroup organized network manager for controlling the operation of individual workstations within a computer network. The workgroup organized network manager organizes workstations into workgroups and controls the distribution of information to each of the workstations within a defined workgroup. The tasks each workstation performs are defined by a specification consisting of programs. A library of programs is maintained on a host workstation designated as a controlling workstation within the workgroup. The host workstation keeps track of activity occurring on the individual workstations within the workgroup. A file maintenance and inventory system compares the attributes of files, directories, and software located on the workstation to check for discrepancies between files, directories, or software intended to be identical and for locating missing or extra files, directories, and software.

    Does this sound like anything Disk Utility is doing? Not to me.

    comparing the file attribute data and check values gathered from said client workstation and said host workstation--Disk Utility only works on the local workstation, it doesn't compare one workstation to another.

    patent is full of detailed use of unix commands, which looks interesting since I doubt this company has a patent on the actual commands. this entire patent is a detailed list of how the comparison is performed. all this patent does is show how to use standard unix commands to perform some functions, which probably is already documented by the original unix operating system provider.

  1. drumrobot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "every version of Mac OS X from the 2001 original

    They shouldn't be able to sue for more than one version (if that)... companies that deliberately wait are obviously patent trolls.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What we need...

    What we need is a "fail to file" doctrine. That is, a notional patent holder must file suit as soon as it or a disinterested third party becomes aware of an infringement. If the patent holder subsequently fails to file and/or waits for months or years, the suit is simply nullified under the doctrine.

  1. ershler

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I think it already exists....

    I'm no expert, but I think that if a patent holder is aware of a infringement and does nothing about it for an certain amount time, the patent becomes void.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Patent Trolls

    Should be put out of business and jailed.

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