Google and Apple rarely see eye to eye these days, even if they were once quite close. Still the two companies are reluctant partners, the iPhone and the iPad rely on Google apps such as Maps or services such as Search. Of course, Google relies on the huge market the iPhone and the iPad creates to expand its business.This partnership has now gotten both of them in "trouble" as some company is suing both for an alleged patent violation in Street View for iOS.
The patent is dubbed "interactive system for displaying detailed view and direction in panoramic images"and describes a way of placing an image in context on a map.
"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," the patent abstract reads.
Street View iOS uses a small minimap to display the position and field of view of the image seen in the app. Anyone that has played Grand Theft Auto or any number of other games is familiar with the concept.
Still, no one else could have conceivably come up with the idea without "stealing" PanoMap's idea. PanoMap is the company behind the lawsuit. Of course, it's not PanoMap's idea to steal, it acquired the patent earlier this year.
Prior to that, it belonged to a shell company dubbed Empire IP, a typical patent troll, which acquired it from its original owner a computer scientist named Jerry Jongerius which got the patent back in 2003.
That's two years after Grand Theft Auto III was launched, but four years after the patent application was filed.
It gets even better, PanoMap is a trademark of a US firm, CSA, which has no relation with the lawsuit.
Hopefully, the courts will dispose of the lawsuit quickly, but that's far from a guarantee. In fact, it's much more likely that Google and Apple will settle out of court leaving the patent troll a little richer, though the sum will mean nothing to Google or Apple, two of the biggest companies on the planet.