Apple faces a $625.5 million judgment against Mirror Worlds over alleged patent infringement related to Spotlight, Time Machine and Cover Flow, unless it succeeds in an emergency motion.
Apple faces a $625.5 million judgment unless it can win a legal argument
against Mirror Worlds, which sued the company in 2008 for alleged patent
infringement. Mirror Worlds won its verdict against Apple Oct. 1.
, Apple's emergency motion accuses Mirror Worlds of "triple
dipping" if it wins $208.5 million for each of the three patents allegedly
in dispute. Attorneys for both Apple and Mirror Worlds plan to submit their
respective arguments concerning the monetary judgment, with Apple arguing that
two of the patents have "outstanding issues" that make them
For its part, the original lawsuit accuses Apple's Mac OS X, mobile devices
and personal computers of violating Mirror Worlds' technology for organizing
data items such as documents in a "stream." The patents themselves
were first filed in 1999 by a Yale computer science professor, David Gelernter,
who founded Mirror Worlds. Apple's Spotlight, Time Machine and Cover Flow
applications-which allow users to flip through on-screen tiles and documents-are
the products apparently at issue.
Bloomberg paraphrases the closing arguments of Apple's chief counsel,
Jeffrey Randall, as saying the Mirror Worlds patents had already been sold
twice, for a combined total of around $5 million, and weren't worth more.
The case is Mirror Worlds LLC v. Apple Inc., 08cv88, U.S. District Court for
the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler). The U.S. District judge hearing the
arguments is Leonard Davis, who
also presided over i4i's recent patent-infringement case against Microsoft
Patent-infringement suits against larger companies have a history of being
won in that part of the Texas
court system. In 2006, Microsoft and Nintendo were ordered to pay $21 million
to Anascape, a small IT outfit, for allegedly violating a patent related to
game controllers. In July 2009, another tiny company, Tsera, sued Microsoft,
Apple and 21 other tech companies over a touch-screen patent.
While patent-infringement cases between large and small companies frequently
make the news, much of the tech industry's attention lately has focused on
battles between the titans. Microsoft filed a patent-infringement lawsuit
against Motorola Oct. 1, joining Apple and Oracle in legal attacks against
Google's Android operating system.
Microsoft has claimed that Motorola's Android smartphones violate nine
patents related to features such as synchronizing e-mail and contacts. The
lawsuit mirrors a March one submitted by Apple against HTC,
accusing the manufacturer of violating some 20 patents related to the iPhone's
interface, architecture and hardware.