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Cover Flow Patent Verdict Costs Apple $208.5 Million

| News

An Eastern Texas Federal Court has ruled Apple’s Cover Flow interface feature infringes on patents owned by Mirror Worlds, and has ordered the Cupertino-based company to pay US$208.5 million in damages, according to Bloomberg.

Apple’s Cover Flow Interface

Mirror Worlds filed its case against Apple on March 14, 2008 alleging that the Cover Flow and Time Machine interface styles showing files or albums flipping back and forth violates patents it owns. Despite the fact that many of the concepts were in use in Apple’s Hypercard product years before the patents were filed, a jury ruled in favor of Mirror Worlds.

The jury’s verdict wasn’t clear as to whether Apple must pay a lump sum of $208.5 million, or pay that amount individually for each of the three patents they ruled Apple violated.

Apple hasn’t commented on the jury’s ruling.

Comments

geoduck

Oh this is so going to be appealed. The paperwork is likely already being processed.

jameskatt

Some Lawyers in Texas need to be given the death penalty.

kevinolive

The patent battles will never end.  Are the courts and juries really equipped for this debates over intellectual property, user interfaces, etc.?  Is it valid to patent something that someone else is already using but perhaps hasn’t patented?

geoduck

Are the courts and juries really equipped for this debates over intellectual property, user interfaces, etc.??

No. This has been proven over and over as juries rule out of sympathy rather that the facts and plaintiffs hunt for courts, like East Texas, where they can win more often and bigger. The first case like this I was aware of was in the late ‘70s. A guy sued Kawasaki. He had bought a motorcycle, never maintained it. Never read the manual. Never did anything except put gas in it and ride. Eventually the chain jumped the sprocket and he crashed. His negligence was obvious but they jury game him a large cash award anyway. I never found out what happened on appeal.

Is it valid to patent something that someone else is already using but perhaps hasn?t patented?

You can try but assuming it is well known, the ‘prior art’ rules should prevent the patent from being issued. It wouldn’t necessarily apply if you were the only one using it.

daemon

$208.5 million just does not sound like very much for violating patents on cover flow…..

geoduck
BurmaYank

What was Bryan Chafin referrring to when he said,

“Despite the fact that many of the concepts were in use in Apple?s Hypercard product years before the patents were filed, a jury ruled in favor of Mirror Worlds.”

What was Hypercard’s version of this CoverFlow-ish technology, and why was it not pertinent as discrediting prior art against Mirror Worlds’ claims in the Texas (kangaroo) court?

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