Nine Years Later Apple Dock Patent Secured
After a nine year wait the United States Trademark and Patent Office has awarded Apple Inc. with the patent for their dock. The dock was considered a revolutionary way to organize applications for quick access -- nine years ago. Now there are many other programs that mimic Apple's dock for other operating systems like Windows.
Better late than never. Apple is undoubtedly glad to have the dock patent under their belt. The patent which covers the magnification feature among other things. "Methods and systems for providing graphical user interfaces are described. To provide greater access and consolidation to frequently used items in the graphical user interface, a userbar is established which includes a plurality of item representations. To permit a greater number of items to reside in the userbar, a magnification function can be provided which magnifies items within the userbar when they are proximate the cursor associated with the graphical user interface."
What this means for other programs that provide dock functionality to Windows like Stardock
only time can tell. Apple does have a history of viciously protecting their intellectual property.
For more information concerning the details of the patent head over to uspto.gov