Another Week, Another Apple Law Suit
A new law suit filed by SimmonsCooper LLC on behalf of DBC in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Digital Background Corporation claims that the video backdrop feature for iChat violates their 1998 patent.
“DBC's claim that infringement has been willful appears to stem from the fact that its technology has been readily accessible through a Windows product dubbed StarFX, which notes in its credits that the employed virtual backdrop technology is patented. The software application is "designed to be the industry standard for manipulating and enhancing PC video in real-time," according to a June 2000 press release.
In addition, the company is asking in its suit that existing copies of Leopard be recalled from wholesalers, that all infringing equipment produced by Apple be destroyed, and that Apple "send a copy of any decision in this case in favor of DBC to each person or entity to whom Apple has sold or otherwise distributed any products found to infringe [its] patent, or induced to infringe [its] patent, and informing such persons or entities of the judgment and that the sale or solicited commercial transaction was wrongful."
The video backdrop feature to iChat 4.0 has been part of the OS 10.5 “Leopard” promotional material for at least half a year prior to release, which makes us wonder if this is another case of tech-patent squatting or a valid complaint by a company that wasn't actively protecting their intellectual property.