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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

iSuit: 'America's Premier Puzzlemaster' Sues Apple for Allegedly Parking In His Spot (So to Speak)

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge Don Rubin's original 1977 puzzle; the goal is to get the black car out of the lot in the fewest possible moves
  • Don Rubin's original 1977 puzzle; the goal is to get the black car out of the lot in the fewest possible moves
Don Rubin is "America's Premiere Puzzlemaster" -- or so his lawyers would inform you on the very first line of Rubin's suit vs. Apple. It seems Rubin has a legitimate claim to that title -- in his heyday, cavalcades of mail responses to his newspaper puzzle column became so onerous for Chicago-area postal employees that Rubin was given his own zip code.

Back in 1977, Rubin crafted a parking lot-related puzzle titled "Lots of Luck"; the cars probably ran on leaded gas and quite a few still had fins, but the concept holds today. So it came as a surprise to Rubin when Apple launched an iPhone application called "parking lot." You can see Rubin's 32-year-old puzzle here and the iPhone app here. And, naturally, you can see Rubin's lawsuit, filed last week in San Francisco Superior Court, here.

click to enlarge The iPhone app 'Parking Lot'
  • The iPhone app 'Parking Lot'
Incidentally, Rubin followed the '77 release of "Lots of Luck" with

five sequels: "Thanks. A Lot" (1979); "Showroom" (1981); "Jeepers!"

(1983); "Lots of Luck II" (1988); and "Lots of Luck (A Different

Version)" (1988). The simple title of "Parking Lot," used by the iPhone

app he claims violates his copyrighted puzzles, apparently never

occurred to him.

It did occur to him how similar the two games are -- and his suit asks for relief under the Copyright Act.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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