Adobe legal entanglements
Wed, May 5, 10
As a background to recent unconfirmed reports of Adobe asking the U.S. government to investigate Apple (presumably for excluding Flash from the App Store), here are a few of the legal cases by and against Adobe over the years:
- In the late 1980s, British high-end digital effects powerhouse Quantel sued Adobe for $138 million over patented aspects of its Paintbox it claimed Photoshop violated, but lost the case in 1997 due to prior art from Alvy Ray Smith, computer graphics pioneer and co-founder of Pixar.
- In 1998, the German printing systems giant Heidelberger sued Adobe for violating its photo retouching patents. The two companies settled out of court two years later.
- In 1998, Adobe settled its font software copyright and typeface designs case against The Learning Company Inc. for $2 million in damages.
- In 2000, Adobe sued Macromedia for having violated its “reconfigurable tabbed palette” patent to stop the launch of Macromedia’s Flash 5.0. The then Adobe president Bruce Chizen: “Adobe will not be the research and development department for its competitors.” Two years later, Adobe won damages of $2.8 million.
- Two weeks after that verdict, another jury this time found Adobe violated several Macromedia patents and awarded Macromedia $4.9 million. The then chairman and CEO of Macromedia Rob Burgess: “The score is now Adobe one, Macromedia one, customers zero.”
- In 2005, Adobe bought Macromedia in a $3.4 billion stock deal.
- In 2010, after Apple blocked Flash from the App store and Steve Jobs shared his “Thoughts on Flash” publicly, an Adobe platform evangelist blogged “Go screw yourself Apple” and Adobe is said to have asked for governmental intervention.