Apple challenges massive patent award

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Apple's attempting to overturn what would be one of the biggest patent damages awards ever, potentially costing it over $625 million.

On Friday, a court found it guilty of infringing four patents belonging to Mirror Worlds, covering document display techniques used on the iPod, iPhone and Mac. The lawsuit dates back to 2008.

They were used in the Spotlight, Time Machine and Cover Flow features. Cover Flow is the 3D graphical interface used in iTunes and the iPhone to scroll through files, while Spotlight is used to search a hard drive and Time machine performs back-ups.

The jury concluded that three patents had been infringed, and awarded $208.5 million for each one. But Apple is now asking the judge to delay a final decision on two of the patents, claiming there are still unresolved issues.

According to Bloomberg, Apple says the two patents at issue are not in fact valid - and that, given that they were sold for $5 million, the damages awarded were disproportionate in any case.

The judge has asked Apple and Mirror Worlds to submit legal arguments on the damages.

Although the case was heard in Texas, Mirror Worlds is far from being the sort of patent troll which Apple and others are aiming to see off via changes to the patent system.

 It was founded by Yale computer science professor David Gelertner, who may be best-known to many as the man who wrote a book, Drawing Life, about surviving the Unabomber's attack.