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The tech press loves to paint Google as an enemy of Apple (and sometimes, vice versa), but a new lawsuit may bring the two technology titans together again -- as defendants against a company claiming the search giant’s Street View technology infringes on their existing patent.
AppleInsider is reporting that PanoMap Technologies, LLC has filed a lawsuit against both Google and Apple over the search giant’s Street View, part of Google Maps, which is also utilized in the Maps app on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Filed last Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, PanoMap claims Street View infringes on an existing patent held by the company, according to Paid Content.
“PanoMap is asserting U.S. Patent No. 6,563,529, titled ‘Interactive system for displaying detailed view and direction in panoramic images,’ and is seeking triple damages from the two tech giants on claims that they had knowledge of the patent before infringing upon it,” AppleInsider reveals. “Originally, the '529 patent was issued to developer Jerry Jongerius in 2003 and subsequently transferred to a shell company called Empire IP in 2011. Finally, PanoMap acquired the patent rights earlier in February.”
Judging from a description of the patent, the PanoMap complaint seems to be a close match to the existing Google Street View.
“A method and system for indicating the camera position, direction, and field of view in a map or panoramic image comprises a map image window which displays a map or panoramic image of the site to be studied (house, apartment, city, etc.),” the patent reads. “A detailed view window displays a portion of the map image, taken from a point in the site. A highlighted sector in the map image represents the viewing position, direction, and field of view that the detailed view window displays. When the user changes the field of view in the detailed view window, the highlighted sector in the map image changes in synchronism. The resulting interactive windows allow a person to easily and quickly view and understand the field of view, position, and direction of the image being displayed in the detail view window.”
AppleInsider notes that PanoMap has no business address and appears to be nothing more than yet another patent holding firm. The company also alleges that Google “included the ‘529 patent as prior art” when it applied for Street View patents in 2008 and 2009, and that an Apple IP address visited Duckware.com -- a website owned by developer Jongerius -- on July 8, 2007. Apple incorporated Street View with the second version of its mobile operating system in 2008.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter