Apple was called into court back in 2008 for allegedly infringing on a patent owned by Network-1 Technologies describing a "Document Stream Operating System" that simply organizes content based on the date it was created. Eight years later Apple has agreed to settle the suit and buy a license to the technology, parts of which Network-1 claims were used in iTunes Cover Flow, OS X Spotlight search, and the Time Machine backup system.
The patent, filed back in the early years of the consumer Internet in 1999, describes the operating system in simplistic, general terms that could be used to describe many of the apps we use today. The "document stream" technology was originally developed by Yale professor David Gelernter and one of his students, Eric Freeman.
Network-1 filed its lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of Texas, which is known for its patent holder-friendly judgements. Network-1 Technologies makes no products, but simply acquires, defends, and licenses patent-protected intellectual property.