updated 01:40 pm EDT, Mon October 4, 2010
Cover Flow, Time Machine cited as patent breakers
Apple is being ordered to pay at least $208.5 million in damages after losing a lawsuit to a company called Mirror Worlds, reports say. The latter party has accused Apple of violating multiple patents: three describing a "document stream operating system," and a fourth showing an information management system based on the document streams. The concepts involved are said to be nearly identical to those employed by Apple's Cover Flow and Time Machine.
While one of the patent claims was tossed out earlier this year, the Mirror Worlds case is unusual in that it otherwise survived to trial. Most such lawsuits are either dismissed or settled out of court, as corporations like Apple are eager to avoid the effort and expense of a prolonged battle. The trial was handled through the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, however, which is infamous for finding in favor of plaintiffs in patent cases.
Apple has yet to respond to requests for comment. Mirror Worlds founder David Gelernter has also refused to say much on the matter, except that he is "tremendously grateful" to his lawyers. It is also unclear whether the penalty applies to all three patents together, or each individually.