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Adobe Wins Jury Award Against Macromedia

Tabbed interface costs Macromedia $2.8 million By Dave Nagel
Adobe has won round 1 against Macromedia in its patent infringement lawsuit. Adobe had filed the suit back in August 2000, alleging that Macromedia had absconded its configurable tabbed palette concept. Last night Adobe announced that a jury in the U.S. District Court of Delaware agreed and ordered Macromedia to pay a little more than $2.8 million in damages.

Adobe's suit had been questioned by many, since configurable, tabbed interfaces had been the basis of most UIs since the advent of GUIs. However, Adobe's claim relates specifically to non-modal palettes and the technologies involved in configuring palettes with tabs. You can download the full text of Adobe's patent at

"We are very pleased with the verdict," said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president of Adobe's graphics business unit, in a prepared statement. "We've maintained all along that Macromedia infringes this patent. While we would have preferred to settle this issue out of court, we are satisfied that the validity of this key innovation has been upheld."

"It is unfortunate, and we believe wrong, that Adobe has chosen this field to compete. Ultimately, it is our customers, and particularly our mutual customers, that will be harmed," said Rob Burgess, chairman and CEO of Macromedia, in a prepared statement. "Nonetheless, we have no choice but to protect our right to innovate and must defend ourselves on this playing ground."

Macromedia currently has a patent infringement suit pending against Adobe as well, a suit that was filed in response to Adobe's original suit. Macromedia begins arguments in that case May 6.

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Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at

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