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Patent holder sues Apple over Quick Look file viewer

WhitServe alleges that Mac OS X infringes on a patent it holds for "sequentially opening and displaying files in a directory."

WhitServe, which owns intellectual property but doesn't make any real products, is suing Apple over allegations that versions of the Mac OS X operating system infringe on a file viewer patent it holds.

The complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, claims that Apple's Quick Look violates Patent No. 7,921,139, a system for "sequentially opening and displaying files in a directory."

Introduced in 2007 with Mac OS X Leopard, Apple's Quick Look allows users a convenient way to preview the contents of a document before opening it fully in an application. By selecting a file in the Finder and pressing the spacebar, users can view a window that shows a view of the contents of the file.

WhitServe said it is actively licensing the patent, which was granted in 2011, and has suffered as a result of Apple's inclusion of the technology in its operating system.

"The harm to WhitServe resulting from the infringing acts of Apple is irreparable, continuing, not fully compensable by money damages, and will continue unless enjoined by this Court," the company said in its lawsuit.

In addition to damages and court costs, WhitServe is seeking a permanent injunction against Apple's use of the technology.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

WhitServe LLC v. Apple Inc.