Apple appeals $625.5 million ruling in Cover Flow patent dispute

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple has officially appealed a patent violation ruling issued last week, challenging a jury's decision to award $625.5 million to a company for infringement related to Spotlight, Cover Flow and Time Machine.



Last week it was revealed that Mirror Worlds LLC won a lawsuit filed in 2008 that accused Apple of infringing on three patents it owns. The patent holder was awarded $625.5 million by a jury in a Tyler County Court in Eastern Texas.



But according to Bloomberg, Apple has asked the court for an emergency stay from the ruling, arguing that Mirror Worlds would be "triple dipping" in collecting $208.5 million on each of the patents. Apple is attempting to convince the court that there are outstanding issues with two of the patents.



Presiding over the case, U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis has asked the lawyers on each side to submit legal arguments on the damages awarded by the Tyler County jury. Apple called an assertion by Mirror Worlds that the damages should be cumulative "erroneous and objectionable."



Apple has also requested that the court find Apple is not infringing on two of the patents. Judge Davis reportedly said if he granted Apple's request, he would strike the amount of damages attributed to those two patents.



The lawsuit accused Apple of infringing on patents for creating "streams" of documents sorted by time. The patents were originally filed for by Yale professor David Gelernter in 1999, who said he believes Apple's Spotlight, Time Machine and Cover Flow features were taken from his ideas on "lifesreaming."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    Does that really say $625 million?



    That seems huge and excessive. The lawyers must be celebrating right now, they're making enough to retire off of.
  • Reply 2 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Goldenclaw View Post


    Does that really say $625 million?



    That seems huge and excessive. The lawyers must be celebrating right now, they're making enough to retire off of.



    Right. if it was the other way around there would be dancing in the streets. I hope this verdict sticks. No one is above the law.
  • Reply 3 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post


    Right. if it was the other way around there would be dancing in the streets. I hope this verdict sticks. No one is above the law.



    You must not follow these East Texas patent trials very closely. Or other information relating to how Apple acquired Cover Flow.
  • Reply 4 of 51
    $625 Million? Apple might as well just spill hot coffee on them.
  • Reply 5 of 51
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Software patent violation for $625M.. I think that is really excessive. Two of these patents are on how something is displayed, is questionable, and something not worth 9 figures. Apple will probably end up paying 100-200..
  • Reply 6 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slang4Art View Post


    You must not follow these East Texas patent trials very closely. Or other information relating to how Apple acquired Cover Flow.



    What I recall is that CoverFlow was acquired from third party developers by Apple. How does that work a few years down the road when it turns out that the work isn't wholly owned by the party that you are buying it from? Aren't the originals owners who benefited also libel for any infringement?



    My fav quote from the article are from the last sentence ... "The patents were originally filed for by Yale professor David Gelernter in 1999, who said he believes Apple's Spotlight, Time Machine and Cover Flow features were taken from his ideas on "lifesreaming."



    I think that Professor Gelernter's ideas on 'life reaming' are alive and well.
  • Reply 7 of 51
    czmytczmyt Posts: 1member
    Congratulations, professor! You won the lottery for an incredibly obvious and typical application of the database sort command.
  • Reply 8 of 51
    801801 Posts: 271member
    Wheee Haww! They like'm big down in texas.....



    Read up on Tyler Texas right here:



    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/48/48457.html



    Just doesn't seem like an Intellectual Property hotbed to me. Seems more like a litigational sausage factory to me.

    But with less then 10% of the population holding college degrees, well, it seems kind of odd that they crank out these complicated cases so often.
  • Reply 9 of 51
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,532member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by battiato1981 View Post


    What I recall is that CoverFlow was acquired from third party developers by Apple. How does that work a few years down the road when it turns out that the work isn't wholly owned by the party that you are buying it from? Aren't the originals owners who benefited also libel for any infringement?




    Exactly. At the very least it seems that Apple could recover whatever they paid for CoverFlow from the people who sold it to them.



    An interesting question, can you sell something you don't own, if you don't know you didn't own it? A little like paying for something with a counterfeit bill that you got from a bank. Even if you didn't know it was counterfeit, you're still liable.
  • Reply 10 of 51
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,684member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by czmyt View Post


    Congratulations, professor! You won the lottery for an incredibly obvious and typical application of the database sort command.



    Yeah - on the face of it this sounds ridiculous. I wonder if there is a patent of stacking physical object on top of one another (cards., documents, whatever)? You can add 'in time' if you like - you know, the oldest at the bottom...
  • Reply 11 of 51
    Quote:

    I think that Professor Gelernter's ideas on 'life reaming' are alive and well.



    Appleinsider forgot spell check. It was lifestreaming. But i'm sure you knew that. hehe.
  • Reply 12 of 51
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,603member
    So much money for something that isn't even owned by the creator now (the professor) and bearing a passing resemblance to something that Apple picked up from a guy who made it back in 2000 (coverflow).



    Neither the creator nor the company who now own the patent have made a product in the 11 years since it was thought up. Even if they did it would be neither coverflow nor Time Machine.



    Apple are right to appeal and should ask to have the case moved to a California court because of the fact that the everyone in the east texas courts are a. probably related and b. on the 'payroll'
  • Reply 13 of 51
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lightstriker View Post


    $625 Million? Apple might as well just spill hot coffee on them.



    Not mentioned in the article above: the patents were sold/purchased for $5 million. One of Apple's arguments was that the infringement shouldn't be worth more than that. Honestly, that seems right. Yeah, I'm biased, but the guy who INVENTED the idea got his $$ (actually, he got $210k, because the $5m was a second sale).



    I want to know what percentage of these East Texas rulings get over-turned on appeal. Hopefully it's most of them. Otherwise, they need to bulldoze over the court and make a water-park.
  • Reply 14 of 51
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post


    So much money for something that isn't even owned by the creator now (the professor) and bearing a passing resemblance to something that Apple picked up from a guy who made it back in 2000 (coverflow).



    Neither the creator nor the company who now own the patent have made a product in the 11 years since it was thought up. Even if they did it would be neither coverflow nor Time Machine.



    Apple are right to appeal and should ask to have the case moved to a California court because of the fact that the everyone in the east texas courts are a. probably related and b. on the 'payroll'



    I noticed that the lawsuit Microsoft filed against the Android phone was NOT in East Texas. I think I might have to grudgingly respect them for that.



    And the problem with the East Texas court isn't inbreeding. It's just that they clearly have a prejudice. It's apparent in their decisions. There should be provisions for redistributing cases when a court shows such obvious prejudices.
  • Reply 15 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by czmyt View Post


    Congratulations, professor! You won the lottery for an incredibly obvious and typical application of the database sort command.



    I don't think this is really fair.



    For starters the Professor didn't just have an obvious idea, he had a detailed implementation of it that the courts have currently ruled as essentially similar to what CoverFlow and Time Machine are. Secondly, from what I heard, the professor doesn't get a dime even though it was his idea. The idea belongs to the company that sued.



    So here we have another case where everyone trying to do original work and actually thinking up the ideas, loses, and the lawyers, and the companies that rape/buy the ideas win. The exact opposite of what copyright law is supposed to do.



    On another note, do you think anyone at Apple Insider will ever notice that the previous story doesn't allow anyone to comment?

    That might be why, you know, no one has commented.
  • Reply 16 of 51
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post


    Right. if it was the other way around there would be dancing in the streets. I hope this verdict sticks. No one is above the law.



    troll.
  • Reply 17 of 51
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,950member
    $625M is absolutely ridiculous, considering the limited contribution these ideas make to Apple products and that the inventors-of-record couldn't even implement their ideas.



    Correction: scopeware.com sold a product named Vision, but they went out of business in May 2004. Details about this can be dredged up on www.archive.org.
  • Reply 18 of 51
    wow. $625 MILLION....... seriously? We're 60% of the way to a BILLION dollars there...



    For what??



    It seriously begs a question:



    Aside from Apple's alleged infringement, where else has "lifestream" made any money in the ELEVEN YEARS since the patent was filed? How has any value or income been "lost" as a result of Apple "stealing" the idea? Did Cover Flow, Spotlight, and Time Machine specifically and directly earn Apple $625 million? Would these ideas have earned the plaintiff anything near that? Even with a "punitive damages" consideration, ascribing this much value to an idea that has otherwise earned NOTHING, is an absolute horror of a precedent.



    It's really questionable... Would their patents have earned ANYTHING if Apple hadn't started applying those features?



    It seems to me that if Apple is found "guilty" of infringement, they should 'backpay' a reasonable license fee (whatever they'd normally pay for a licensed feature of their OS) plus a bit for 'punitive' damage. This amount sounds more like "everything they've earned from any software - specifically OSX - containing the infringed patent..." as if the other 98% of the functionality of the OS doesn't count or something....



    Ridiculous....
  • Reply 19 of 51
    Remember HyperCard?
  • Reply 20 of 51
    Hypercard by released by Apple in 1987 was stacked documents sorted by time.
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