Macromedia and Adobe squabble over patents

Macromedia and Adobe Systems continue to quarrel over patent infringements, with Macromedia filing counterclaims in a US district court against Adobe's patent infringement claims in August.

Adobe Systems filed a suit against Macromedia in the US district court of Delaware for a patent infringement involving Adobe's "tabbed palette". Adobe complained that its interface, which allows users to work with multiple sets of information in the same area of a computer screen, had been imitated in several Macromedia products.

"Adobe will not be the R&D department for its competitors," said Bruce Chizen, Adobe Systems' president. "Our patent and other aspects of our user interface are key to the user experience and functionality of our products; they are essential to differentiate our products and brand from others."

Macromedia replied on the same day, categorically denying the claims and criticising the patents as being "invalid" and "unenforceable." Adobe then amended its complaint last month to include a claim of infringement on image rendering features used in Macromedia's Dreamweaver and Flash products.

In the latest twist to the saga, Macromedia has now filed a patent infringement counterclaim against Adobe Systems in the same court. These claims concern a patent Macromedia holds over changing blended elements, which the company alleges to be imitated by Adobe's Illustrator product, and another patent Macromedia holds over the visual display and editing of sound forms which the company alleges to be imitated by Adobe's Premiere product.

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