“Boo!” Microsoft has just been sued by a heretofore little-known operating system technology firm, SurfCast for its use of tiles in Windows 8’s Microsoft Design Language interface, a.k.a. Metro.
SurfCast, based out of Portland, Maine, claims to have been the first to design the interface concept referred to as “Tiles:”
Tiles can be thought of as dynamically updating icons. A Tile is different from an icon because it can be both selectable and live – containing refreshed content that provides a real-time or near-real-time view of the underlying information. Tiles can provide dynamic bookmarking – an at-a-glance view of the current status of the program, file, or content associated with it. Tiles enable people to have all their content, applications, and resources, regardless of whether on their mobile device, tablet, computer, or in their Cloud – visualized persistently – dynamically updating.
I bet that sounds familiar. That text could be a description of the Metro interface. As Ovid Santoro, CEO of SurfCast wrote, “We developed the concept of Tiles in the 1990s, which was ahead of its time. Microsoft’s Live Tiles are the centerpiece of Microsoft’s new Operating Systems and are covered by our patent.”