Apple appeals $625.5 million patent verdict over use of Cover Flow

A Tyler County, Texas court slapped Apple with the fourth largest patent judgement in history on Friday, saying its use of Cover Flow infringed on patents held by Mirror Worlds LLC. The company originally sued Apple back in 2008, claiming infringement on three of its patents across the Cupertino company's Mac, iPod and iPhone products.

Tyler County jurists ruled against Apple on all three counts, and let Mirror Worlds collect $208.5 million for each patent. Apple in turn asked for an emergency stay in US District Court of the ruling, arguing that issues remained on the validity of Mirror World's claims, and that allowing it to collect seperately on each patent equates to "triple dipping."

Mirror World's patents were originally filed in 1999 by Yale professor David Gelernter, and called for a system of creating time-organized "streams" of documents. Apple's implementation is most notably used in iTunes as a way to quickly scroll through a user library.

Gelernter founded Mirror Worlds, and has said he believed Apple got its idea for Cover Flow using his patented work.

Lawyers for Mirror Worlds, a company incorporated in Tyler, Texas, declined to comment on the judgement. Apple could not be reached for comment, either, although its statements according to court transcripts indicate that it believes the judgement significantly overvalues the patents.

Apple lawyers said the patents in question had been sold at least twice, once for $210,000 and again for $5 million. Taking that into account, the judgement would put a value of nearly 125 times the purchase price, arguably too excessive.

The Cupertino company could catch a break here since the request to rule on the validity of infringement on those two patents before the Tyler County, Texas court announced its decision.

US District Judge Leonard Davis has asked both sides for arguments on the jury's award, and has also reportedly said that if the two questionable patents are thrown out, he would reduce the award proportionately.

In its motion for the emergency stay, Apple argued that the court raised questions as to whether Mirror Worlds had enough evidence to prove direct infringement of its patents. In addition, Apple argued that Mirror Worlds was wrong in its closing arguments stating that damages should be cumulative.

Lawyers for Mirror Worlds erroneously quoted testimony at trial from a witness on setting damages, it claimed. While it objected to the statement, the court overruled, it wrote.

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