I'm writing a piece software. As part of my application I intend to implement a custom file browser (a simple popup window, which allows you to search folders, files etc).
My intention is to divide this file browser into columns, each of them displaying a folder tree view. The trick is that if a user clicks on a folder, another column is created showing the content of that folder (although it is still possible to expand that folder in the same column it was initially displayed in).
What I am afraid of is that this idea might be restricted by some patent (truth to be told this solution is a bit similar to what I came across on Mac OS)
I've found Apple's patent: https://www.google.com/patents/US20120185456 but it seems (please correct me if I'm wrong) it only describes how the items should be displayed in what would be a single column in my file viewer.
There is also a short part about the column view but as far as I am concerned it explicitly states that columns are used to display a specific information item's data and not a deeper level of file hierarchy:
FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary non-hierarchical, column view of visual representations of user-oriented information items on a computer system display. In some implementations, a column view can be selected using view selector 106. In column view, visual representations in each group can be laid out in a first column. A second column can display a preview and other information about a selected information item. In the example shown, My File 1 is selected from group 112 a, causing a preview and basic information for My File 1 to be displayed in the adjacent column in view 103. Each group 112 in the first column can be vertically scrolled to display additional visual representations. In column view, each group can be condensed such that the group is limited to a fixed number of rows for displaying visual representations of items.
I have two questions:
- Am I right? Is my idea not prohibited by this patent?
- How can I check if there are any other patents that could prevent me from implementing my file viewer in the way described above?