Apple sued for patent infringement over Numbers spreadsheet

“Apple has been sued by a Texas-based company for allegedly infringing on a patent with its Numbers spreadsheet software,” Josh Lowensohn reports for CNET.

“The complaint, which was filed on Wednesday with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Tyler Division, accuses Apple of infringing on a patent covering a ‘system and methods for improved spreadsheet interface with user-familiar objects’ with its Numbers software,” Lowensohn reports. “That patent was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1995, and now belongs to Data Engine Technologies LLC, a non-practicing entity, or what some would call a ‘patent troll.'”

Lowensohn reports, “Data Engine Technologies says Apple knew about its patent in mid-2010, and referenced it its own patent for cutting and copying spreadsheet cells, which was issued more than a decade later in 2007.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. This is unbelieveable. These sue happy turds! Just because Apple has money, they want part of it. If I was Apple I’d fight their @ss in court and put them out of business……..

    1. The complaint was filed in Troll Heaven, aka Tyler, TX, so fighting it in court is likely a loss. The juries there are well-known patent-troll supporters. Congratulations to Texas on being the #1 troll-enabling venue…

      1. Apple can and should fight it and then appeal, if it loses. The only way to stop the trolling is for Apple to make it clear to everyone that it will fight every frivolous lawsuit to the bitter end backed by its billions. Apple has to make it clear that it would rather spend $10M fighting a frivolous lawsuit than spend $250K settling out of court. After some expensive losses, the trolls will look elsewhere for their bit of flesh.

          1. Seconded. This is usually a pretty fun site to visit – don’t ruin it for the rest of us with trite armchair politics. Go to foxnews or huffpost if you want to engage in that banal “conversation”.

  2. Funny. Well it will be ammo for the crazies on Yahoo News comments. The stuff I see there is mind boggling. I hope the people viewing those pages are intelligent enough to realize that the iHaters are completely off the mark. The level of stupidity can easily be measured by the sheer number of profanity posted by the iHaters about Apple and it’s users.

  3. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas? Shocking.

    How much you want to bet this “Texas company” is a 2-person front for a patent troll like Intellectual Ventures?

    1. Software patents are only evil to the people who haven’t accomplished anything original in their life.

      No good reason to single out programmers and lot allow them to patent their work and innovation.

  4. Marshall Texas is the key city. They actually have a functioning economy with these lawsuits. The longer that people prep and run the case, the more money they make.
    Rooms for rent
    local resturants
    office supplies and services
    Internet access
    car rental
    etc, etc, etc

    Hey, for them, its a business.

  5. “You got money? I’m gonna sue you!” The life of a parasite RAT.

    And yes I know: You’re a patent troll? Your job is to sue people. Just be sure you have the cash to cover BOTH side’s costs when you LOSE your case. And most patent trolls LOSE their cases. Have fun with that, RATS.

    1. Microsoft released Multiplan, their first spreadsheet with a GUI interface, on Macs in 1985, but it didn’t have paged worksheets. In 1994 MS released Excel 5 with the then new multi-sheet workbook feature. Prior art galore!

      Here’s the abstract from the 1995 filling of the 724 patent: An electronic spreadsheet system of the present invention includes a notebook interface having a plurality of notebook pages, each of which may contain a spread of information cells, or other desired page type (e.g., Graphs page). Methods are provided for rapidly accessing and processing information on the different pages, including displaying a plurality of page identifiers for selecting individual pages, and further including a preferred syntax for referencing information. Additional methods are provided for editing cells and blocks of cells.

  6. Is it not the one that first patients it that is the winner? Even though it may be prior art, if Data Engine Technologies LLC patients that technique they may well win. Remember, this is being played out in East Texas. Sad.

    1. Currently in the U.S., the first to invent (not to file) is the legitimate patent owner. There is a movement to synchronize U.S. law with international law, which I believe includes first to file.

      Regardless, a patent may not be found valid when challenged in court. Evidence of prior art is a valid argument.

  7. Ok, let’s get this straight…

    Numbers had been out for many years, hasn’t been updated for a while and only now they want to sue apple over it?

    This reaks of a company running out of money and looking to sue apple for cash.


  8. Perhaps, Data Engine Technologies LLC should take a swing at Mapping software if it wants some of Apple’s money.

    You should do more that cut and paste cells in a spreadsheet to get paid.

  9. apple sued again? if I remember, there is no year like 2012 that apple sues companies. why? Steve Jobs died. they can’t innovate, invent technology anymore. but they have tons of money thanks to stupid apple fanboys, isheep to buy apple products. Tim Cook doesn’t want to admit something that they face with limitation now. that’s why they do lawsuit. they totally misunderstand that they think they win. they don’t see a long term vision.

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