The somewhat comical series of multi-billion dollar lawsuits that are filed on a weekly basis by smartphone and software companies against each other over patents of things like "rounded rectangles" may soon be making their way to the comics industry, according to a long-winded report from Bleeding Cool which you should read if you want actual details on this story. It seems that the guided view mode of comiXology, which allows readers to zoom in and transition between panels in a digital comic, was actually patented by Marvel a year before comiXology came into existence. There's no litigation pending yet, but most of the PR departments at comic book publishers are taking it easy this week, forcing comics journalists to actually go digging for real stories, and this is what Bleeding Cool came up with.
Rich Johnston has a lot of theories as to what could happen, including Marvel buying out comiXology or licensing their technology to them at a fee. Then again, Marvel might realize that digital comics are just starting to take off and their success is good for the industry as a whole, so they might just leave the whole thing alone...
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Okay, this is Disney (Marvel's parent company) we're talking about. They keep lawyers chained up in cages in Orlando, Florida and don't feed them for weeks to make them extra vicious before trials. If they see an opportunity to sue, they're probably gonna do it.
Guided view isn't the only problem comiXology, which recently announced it had passed 180 million downloads of digital comics, faces. It was recently announced by Stacy Rentschler, a 37 year old dental assistant from Rhode Island, that she has a patent on stupidly using an improper capitalization of the letter X in a name based on her 1994 Compuserve chatroom handle, ~=xXxTaCy69=~.
We reached out to comiXology Europe president Pepe Le Pew for comment, but his receptionist informed us that he has not been in the office since learning that a local cat had brushed up against a freshly painted park bench several days earlier.
We'll keep you posted on these stories, at least one of which is real.