Apple sued over spreadsheet technology

Apple has been sued by a Texas-based company for allegedly infringing on a patent for spreadsheet technology.

Apple's Numbers app running on Macs and iOS devices.
Apple's Numbers app running on Macs and iOS devices. Apple

Apple has been sued by a Texas-based company for allegedly infringing on a patent with its Numbers spreadsheet software.

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.

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."

In its complaint, which was spotted by Priorsmart yesterday, 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.

Apple introduced numbers as part of its iWork '08 suite in 2007 in order to compete with Microsoft's Excel, and other spreadsheet applications. Apple went on to bring it to iOS as a standalone application in early 2010.

As is to be expected, the lawsuit is asking for damages -- plus interest -- for infringement, as well as a permanent injunction on Apple's infringing products.

You can read the entire complaint below:

Data Engine Technologies LLC
 

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