Apple wins $625.5 million patents appeal


In 2008 a complaint was lodged against Apple that the company was infringing on three patents owned by Mirror Worlds, a small company founded at Yale University by Professor David Gelernter. The offending software in question was Spotlight, Time Machine and Cover Flow. Towards the end of 2010 the federal jury awarded the Mirror Worlds $208.5 million in damages for each alleged infringement. Apple lawyer Jeffrey Randall argued that Mirror World patents had been sold for $210,000, and then $5 million, and that the company was not worth more than that. However Leonard Davis, a judge, has now thrown out the original by Mirror Worlds saying the "claimant had failed to properly make their case."

According to the BBC, the squabble "centered on how documents are displayed on-screen - particularly the 'card-flipping' technique utilised when a user scrolls through music in their iTunes library". Although Judge Davis upheld the complaint he said "Mirror Worlds may have painted an appealing picture for the jury," "But it failed to lay a solid foundation sufficient to support important elements it was required to establish under the law."

Apple is no stranger to the court room having previously been taken to court by for numerous reasons including privacy breaches, Motorola patent issues, iPhone 4 problems and of course a 2010 counter-sue after they filed a suit against HTC.

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10 Comments

It is interesting how no one or few comment on apples wins in court. People only like to smash good companies to pieces. But congratulations to apple to detouring tech squatting by professors that don't do anything with it but wait for company to become successful and cash in.

enocheed said,
It is interesting how no one or few comment on apples wins in court. People only like to smash good companies to pieces. But congratulations to apple to detouring tech squatting by professors that don't do anything with it but wait for company to become successful and cash in.

most of us saw this coming... (the apple win, not your comment )

Apple only won the appeal. They didn't win any money. It also makes sense given that the company exhibited a textbook case of patent trolling by getting almost 125 times their company's worth.

I doubt anyone responds simply because Apple wasn't necessarily innocent, Mirror Worlds just couldn't prove that they infringed.

I am glad to see the courts becoming smarter with patent law as it applies to technology. As an Apple-hater, I'm still happy to see the case thrown out.

Now, if we can just get similiar verdicts with the thousands of other frivolous tech patent suits out there, perhaps we can get more interoperable systems. At the very least some UI consistency between platforms, where and when appropriate.

dotf said,
I am glad to see the courts becoming smarter with patent law as it applies to technology. As an Apple-hater, I'm still happy to see the case thrown out.

Now, if we can just get similiar verdicts with the thousands of other frivolous tech patent suits out there, perhaps we can get more interoperable systems. At the very least some UI consistency between platforms, where and when appropriate.

Agreed. I'm not an Apple fan but I just wish there couldn't be patents for stupid, common, everyday stuff. The whole MS patent suit for XML & docx files comes to mind.

Honestly, there shouldn't be a patent for how things slide on/off or flip upside down on the screen just as there shouldn't be a patent that protects the "idea" of using XML to describe a document. It's just ridiculous. Oh you "described" your document using the open standard XML. That's MY idea! Reminds me of domain squatters. Trying to get rich off someone else's work.

If the Prof haven't been so greedy he may of won. I mean if he had asked for say; $5,000,000 for each app plus lawyer fees he could be a rich man.

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