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New patent suit accuses Apple's iOS Developer Program of infringement

A new lawsuit alleges Apple's iOS Developer Program infringes on a 2005 patent for customized web-based software.

Delaware-based Cathas Advanced Technologies filed suit this week against Apple, asserting its "Web-Based Design Software for Keep-Alive Boards," as noted by Patently Apple. The patent in question, US Patent No. 6,925,445, was originally assigned to Delphi Technologies, which specializes in patent sales and licensing.

The complaint claims Apple and its iOS Developer Program have violated the following two patent claims:

1. A method for electronically providing customized software to a customer, comprising the steps of: receiving a customer specification through a web interface; automatically creating customer compatible software that meets the customer specification; and electronically providing the customer compatible software to the customer, wherein the customer compatible software is a customer compatible executable that is compiled from pre-existing source code that is modified to include customer specific messages provided by the customer in the customer specification.

10. A web-based software delivery system for electronically providing customized software to a customer, comprising: a web server; and software design code located on the web server for performing the steps of: receiving a customer specification through a web interface; creating customer compatible software that meets the customer specification; and electronically providing the customer compatible software to the customer, wherein the customer compatible software is a customer compatible executable that is compiled from preexisting source code that is modified to include customer specific messages provided by the customer in the customer specification.




Cathas does not appear to have an active online presence. A Web search for the company did, however, turn up several other lawsuits that it has filed against other technology companies. Earlier this week, Cathas asserted the '445 patent against Oracle in a Delaware Dsitrict Court. The company also recently filed suits against LinkedIn and Groupon over a patented method for providing "supplier branding services" over a network.

The issue of patents received a large platform for discussion earlier this week at All Things D's D10 conference. During an on-stage interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly defended Apple's decision to sue its competitors to protect its intellectual property. He compared the company's research efforts to creating a painting that others have signed their name onto.

When asked about lawsuits that rivals have filed against Apple, Cook said that the "vast majority" of those complaints involved standards-essential patents (SEPs). He went on to claim that the system for enforcing SEPs is "broken" and should not allow patent holders to file for injunctions.

Cook's comments on patents and innovation were echoed at the conference on the following day by Nathan Myhrvold, co-founder of Intellectual Ventures. Mhyrvold's company has been accused of being a "patent troll" for wielding IP that it bought, rather than developed. He defended the business model as dealing in "invention capital" and helping to encourage and reward innovation and research.

"Investing in patents is no different than investing in companies," he said.