Using Mac OS X’s Software Update system preferences pane to update your operating system and Apple-made applications could become a thing of the past, if a lawsuit pending against
Apple Computer Inc.
gets its way. Both companies have been named as defendants in a lawsuit recently filed in the Federal Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiff in the case is Teleshuttle Technologies LLC. The suit alleges that Apple and Microsoft are infringing a patent that covers online software updates.
The software technology’s inventor is Richard Reisman, who filed the patent on April 20, 2000 — a continuation of other patents dating back to 1994. The US Patent and Trademark Office on April 29, 2003 granted Reisman
patent number 6,557,054. The patent describes a “Method and system for distributing updates by presenting directory of software available for user installation that is not already installed on user station.”
BTG International Inc.
claimed in a statement published Tuesday that Reisman’s work dates back to the early 1990s, “well before the Internet became mainstream.” Intellectual property and technology development company BTG said that it’s the exclusive worldwide licensee of the technology developed by Reisman.
The suit seeks “unspecified damages for past infringing activity and an injunction against future use of the technology.” The decision to file the suit was made following “Microsoft’s and Apple’s delay in entering into licensing agreements with BTG on commercially reasonable terms.”
An Apple representative contacted by MacCentral refused to comment for this story; as a matter of policy, Apple does not comment on pending litigation.
Updated 07/21/04 9:15 AM: Apple response noted.
Updated 07/20/04 7:05 PM: Patent filing date clarified.