"Xerox sues for copying" is a headline that never stops being funny

PalmSource Announces its Plans to Abandon Graffiti

[...] Palm, Inc., announced today that future versions of Palm OS will not contain Graffiti. Rather, they will incorporate a modified version of Communication Intelligence Corporation's Jot handwriting recognition software, something it's calling Graffiti 2 powered by Jot.

The impetus for the switch appears to be legal rather than technical. In April 1997, Xerox sued Palm, claiming that Graffiti was essentially derived from its patented Unistrokes technology. [...] in late 2001, Xerox won a reversal in the U.S. Court of Appeals and the lawsuit was back on, and it's been hanging over Palm's head ever since.

CIC's Jot recognition software has long been found on competing handhelds running on the Pocket PC platform. As with Graffiti, its alphabet is based on block characters. However, unlike Graffiti, some characters require two rather than one stroke. Therefore, Jot characters more closely resemble common block letters than Graffiti characters.

Update: Time for Palm to switch to the Dasher "zooming" thing? Opinion from those who know seems to be that CIC/Jot is far inferior to Graffiti. So this is just such a perfect example of the true effect of patents:

  • Both companies waste a huge amount of money in litigation;
  • The taxpayers waste a huge amount of money running the courts;
  • When the patent holder "wins" their extortion case, the defendant either goes out of business, or just switches to a less-encumbered yet less-good technology;
  • And the ultimate loser? The customers.

But if we can save just one revenue stream, won't it all have been worth it?