“Since the release of Mac OS X 10.0 in 2001, the Dock has been one of the most prominent features of operating system’s user interface, serving as a centralized and resizable launch pad for applications and document files,” Slash Lane reports for AppleInsider.
“On Tuesday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the Mac maker patent number 7,434,177 titled ‘User interface for providing consolidation and access.’ The 20-page filing outlining the principles behind the Dock and its magnification component is credited to Jobs, in addition to well-known Apple interface designers Bas Ording and Donald Lindsay,” Lane reports.
“Apple now retains the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or otherwise employing replicas of the technology in their own products,” Lane reports. “Under United States patent law, that right typically extends 20 years assuming the company keeps up with routine maintenance fees due 3½, 7½ and 11½ years following the grant date.”
Full article here.
Back to the copiers, Microsoft!
MacDailyNews Note: Nextstep’s refined and consistent user interface introduced the idea of the Dock, which was carried through OpenStep and into Mac OS X. After several previews beginning in 1986, Nextstep 1.0 was released on September 18, 1989. Apple completed its acquisition of NeXT Software, Inc. on Feb. 7, 1997. Jean-Louis Gassée promptly took a long, long vacation.