Cygnus Systems a Taylor, Michigan based company filed a lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for violating a patent that they own over the use of thumbnails in operating systems and web browsers. Cygnus Systems is attacking Google over Chrome, Apple over the iPhone, and Microsoft over Vista and IE8.
Below is a flow chart drawing that I pulled from the patent information on Google Patent Search:
Cygnus originally filed the patent in June 1998, continued it in June 2001, and was awarded the patent in March 2008. Nine months later the lawsuit was filed and Cygnus wants to be awarded damages from the time that infringement started.
Cygnus President, Gregory Swartz developed the technology when working on IT projects. Cygnus wants a “reasonable royalty” as well as a court injunction preventing further infringement of the patent.
Will this lawsuit get far? These three companies have a pretty elite legal team so it is pretty unlikely. The lawsuit also seems to be improperly targetting Google. Google Chrome is a free download for Windows XP and Vista.