The geniuses from Apple are being sued in federal court in San Francisco over claims that every touch-based product the company made was stolen from ideas used by museums.
According to Flatworld Interactives, Steve Jobs must have seen the touch-based interactive museum displays in a museum and decided that it would be ideal for iDevices.
Ars Technica said that the claim relates to Apple's Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad.
Professor Slavoljub Milekic, who is an expert in cognitive science and interaction design, said he dreamed up the idea to allow kids to move virtual objects around the screen.
The system was to build interactive displays for the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY, in 1997.
He filed patent #6,920,619 which had the title "User interface for removing an object from a display," and was issued by the US Patent & Trademark Office in 2005.
Milekic formed FlatWorld Interactives in 2007 to "promote and commercialise" his invention. FlatWorld was incorporated on January 2007, just weeks after Apple announced the original iPhone at Macworld Expo.
In July 2007 Flatword filed a reissue request for the patent, which appears to have been done in order to modify some of the patent's dependent claims.
Its legal brief Gordon Nelson then informed Apple of the original patent and its pending reissue in September 2007.
FlatWorld used its system, dubbed "Show Me Tools," twice since Milekic's original Speed Art interactive display—once in 2008. Once was for the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society and once more in 2009 for the Philadelphia Zoo.
Both projects appeared after the iPhone was introduced and popularised touch-based interfaces. Flatworld's website appears to have gone offline and taking on Apple is all the company appears to do.