Late News

AT&T asserts GUI patent

Electronic Engineering Times

March 4, 1991

Warren, N.J. - AT&T Co. is notifying computer and software companies that it intends to enforce its patent that covers maintaining and updating multiple windows in a multitasking system. A number of companies already have licensed the 1985 patent, while others have access to it through cross-licensing agreements, said L. Herron, a manager at AT&T's Intellectual Property Division.

The patent is said to cover methods of updating multiple bit-mapped windows in a multitasking system automatically, without special application code. The patent also covers updating portions of windows that are obscured or covered by overlapping windows.

While software cannot be patented, some of the companies using this technology "are implementing it in a mixture of hardware and software, especially for terminals," according to Herron. Most graphical user interfaces, including Microsoft Corp.'s MS-Windows, Unix X Window-based systems and Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh, update their windows. CFI 1.0 spec in November?


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