Apple Sued Over OS Fast Boot, Lawsuit May Be Android-Related

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News Posted: Mon, Aug 8 2011 7:32 PM
A recent complaint filed against Apple by the unknown company Operating System Solutions alleges that the company's method of fast-booting OS X violates a patent. At first glance, the lawsuit seems no different than other patent troll cases that litter the legal landscape--but there are a few oddities that hint at a larger purpose to the filling.

For one thing. the patent holder--Operating System Solutions--is an absolute unknown. Even patent trolls typically have websites and a modest online presence; OSS appears to lack even these items. Furthermore, the patent in question was originally granted to LG back in 2002, before being transferred and reissued OSS in 2008.

It's not uncommon for big companies to sell or transfer patents that they don't need, but it's unclear what OSS does, why it acquired the patent, or whether the company even exists as anything but a mailing address. In addition, this is fairly old technology: LG applied for the patent in 1999, and certain submitted drawings refer to Windows 95 as the final booted operating system.

The OSS patent describes a modified boot process extremely similar to what Windows has used for years. It's not clear which versions of OS X infringe on the patent or how OS X infringes while Windows doesn't.

The patent refers to a "method for quickly booting a personal computer system using boot configuration information on memory and the attached devices that was created and saved in a hard disk at the preceding boot process." It describes a process of saving certain information to the hard drive depending on whether or not the system was properly powered down, put to sleep, rebooted, or otherwise deactivated. This allows the system to boot more quickly because there is no need to step the entire boot process every single time the system is restarted.

There's nothing obviously wrong with the patent itself, but the court filing doesn't specify which version of OS X allegedly infringes its property or make mention of any negotiating process beyond a boilerplate statement that it notified Google of the infringement. There's been some speculation that OSS may be acting as a proxy for LG, which has its own stake in the smart device race and may have filed suit against Apple in a legal preemptive strike.
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Why does it seem like more and more businesses are buying up companies which hold key patents just so that they can sue their competitors.

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 SPAM-posters beware! ®

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Dogbert hits the nail squarely on the head. The patent system in the US - but, alas, not only the US - is rotten and requires reform from the ground up. Contrary to the intentions of those who framed the US constitution, it inhibits, rather than then encourages innovation. This, no matter whether Apple happens to find itself in the position of plaintiff or defendant....


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