Google and Apple have a love-hate relationship. They are fighting each other, patent over patent, in an epic battle of technology giants. But then they work together when doing business with each other. Regardless, they don’t have the best of friendships, but it seems they will have to work together to fight off a patent lawsuit aimed at both companies.
The common enemy is PanoMap, and it is suing both companies for using Street View in Apple products (Google provides mapping services to Apple). The Company complained to a Florida court about the fact that both companies are infringing on patent No. 6,563,529, described as an “Interactive system for displaying detailed view and direction in panoramic images.”
According to PanoMap, both companies were aware of its ownership over this patent, and should pay triple damage for ignoring the fact. Such claim is based on Google’s recent patent application, which cites said patent, as well as the fact that Apple visited a website that displays such patent, a few years ago.
Patent No. 6,563,529
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.). 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.
But despite all the hype it looks like this company might be a “non-practicing entity,” or Patent Troll, which is what we commonly call them. PanoMap lawyers declined to answer when asked whether the company actually makes mapping technology, or they are just a cover company supported by patent lawsuit funders.
But things get more confusing. It seems like a company named CSA owns the PanoMap trademark, and claims to not be suing Google and Apple. This raises suspicion of the possibility that a shell company is using another company’s name to sue Google/Apple.
What a mess…