April 6, 2011

Patent Suit Award Against Apple Overturned

A US federal judge in Texas overturned an order that Apple Inc. pay $625.5 million in damages in a patent infringement case involving small tech company Mirror Worlds LLC, reports AFP.

Judge Leonard Davis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Monday reversed the jury's finding that Apple pay the damages in the case filed by Mirror Worlds in 2008.

Mirror Worlds claimed that Apple Macintosh computers powered by the Mac OS X infringed on patents held by the Tyler, Texas-based tech company.

A jury in October 2008 found that Apple had infringed on three of Mirror Worlds' patents and awarded $208.5 million for each patent.

However, Judge Davis vacated the damages award, which would have been one of the largest ever in the United States. "Mirror Worlds may have painted an appealing picture for the jury, but failed to lay a solid foundation sufficient to support important elements it was required to establish under the law," he said in his 44-page ruling.

"Separate and apart from the sufficiency of evidence regarding infringement, there is insufficient evidence to support the jury's $208.5 million damages award," he said.

"No matter how attractive a party paints the facade of its case, it is worthless without the requisite foundational support," the judge added.

The technologies Mirror Worlds filed against included Cover Flow, which lets users flip through album covers and other content; Time Machine, which performs automatic backups; and Spotlight, used for searching computer hard drives.

Apple had asked the US District Court to wait to enforce the jury award, saying there were still issues that needed to be addressed. Apple also objected to the way the damages were calculated.


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