Alleged patent infringements look like consist of a daily business around the world nowadays. This is the case with a company named ART+COM, or ACI for short, which has recently fled an infringement suit against Google.
The suit reported consists of Google infringing a patent which ACI holds (#RE44,550), having the following title: “Method and Device for Pictorial Representation of Space-related Data”. In the suite, ACI describes how Google Earth looks strikingly similar to their software named Terravision, developed over a decade ago before Google Earth moved into the market.
“Terravision was developed using Onyx computers of Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) which were the most powerful available at the time for processing and displaying graphical data,” ACI’s Detlef Andreovits stated. “In the course of developing Terravision, our inventors worked directly with Michael T. Jones when he was at SGI, where he was our designated contact person. We understand SGI subsequently used Terravision as a demonstration of the capabilities of their Onyx computers.” he added.
Judging by the images, it does have similar elements present in their interface and graphical interpretation of planet Earth (even though it’s the same planet?), however ACI also says that it has issue with some Google executives, in particular with Michael Jones, CTO of Google Earth, and Brian McClendon, VP of Engineering for Google Maps.
ACI state that the latter mentioned Google executives worked for companies which had access to data on the Terravision system in the past. The company added that Google’s infringement is deliberate and could be greatly impacted in court.