Granted, there aren't that many original ways to sue Apple anymore, but this one is just peculiar. Elliot Gottfurcht, a successful commercial real estate developer, is suing the company because he claims to hold a patent for "the way the iPhone navigates the Internet." He was indeed granted an internet-ish patent in late October, but it's hard to see how exactly it relates to Apple, or how this isn't just another example of Hail Mary patent extortion plot. UPDATE:It looks like the crux of Gottfurcht's claim against Apple is buried in the middle of the patent, and regards a number of methods for navigating web content. The wording is vague, and whether or not this holds up will remains to be seen, but the claim is probably not centered around the reformatting of web pages, as described elsewhere in the patent and below. The patent abstract is as follows:
A method and apparatus of simplified navigation. A web page is provided having a link to a sister site. The sister site facilitates simplified navigation. Pages from the sister site are served responsive to actuation of the sister site link. In one embodiment, the sister site includes matrix pages to permit matrix navigation.
Further reading, along with the patent's crappy mockup (above), helped confirm what looked obvious from the above description: Gottfurcht is suing Apple because they think they hold a patent on the entire mobile web. Never mind the fact that the iPhone was touted as the first phone not to need mobile-optimized websites — even if the iPhone only visited stripped-down WAP sites, that would have almost nothing to do with the iPhone itself. [Reuters and The Register]