Texas judge will allow more arguments in Apple patent case before entering $625.5M verdict

By Marilyn Tennissen | Oct 7, 2010

An Apple iPhone showing the Cover Flow feature.

An East Texas judge has agreed to give Apple more time before entering his final judgment in a $625.5 million patent infringement verdict against the computer giant.

On Oct. 1, a federal jury in Tyler found that Apple infringed three patents owned by a Yale professor regarding the way documents are displayed on a computer screen. The jury also found that the infringements had been willful.

U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis decided to postpone his final ruling on the verdict and will give Apple and plaintiff Mirror Worlds until the end of November to submit additional legal arguments.

"The Court will allow briefing to address equitable issues based on the evidence submitted during trial and to address whether there is good cause for re-opening the record," Davis wrote on Oct. 5.

Apple claims there are outstanding legal issues regarding two of the three patents.

In an emergency motion filed Sunday, Oct. 3, Apple also said Mirror Worlds would be "triple dipping" if it were able to collect $208.5 million on each patent, arguing the jury's verdict form was not clear if damages were for the patents as a whole or individually.

"During closing, Mirror Worlds' counsel showed the jury a 'sample' verdict form with damages amounts on a per patent basis of $322 [million], $336 [million], and $320 million – a sum of nearly $1 billion ... This ... gave the jury the impression that those amounts would be cumulative," Apple's motion stated.

According to Bloomberg, if the $625.5 million verdict stands it will be the second-largest jury verdict in 2010, and the fourth-largest patent verdict in U.S. history.

In his decision to allow more arguments, Judge Davis cited federal procedural rules that give judges leeway to reject a jury decision or call for a new trial. He ruled that Apple's motion to stay entry of the jury verdict is moot.

Computer science professor David Gelernter of Yale University and the company he founded, Mirror Worlds LLC, sued Apple Inc. in 2008, claiming the iPod, iPhone and Mac computers infringed his patents through their Spotlight, Time Machine and Cover Flow features.

The original complaint filed March 14, 2008, claimed infringement of four patents: U.S. Patent No. 6,006,227; No. 6,638,313; No. 6,725,427; and 6,768,999. U.S. Patent No. 6,613,101 was added later. However, the trial only dealt with the '227, '313 and '427 patents.

Gelernter was in the news in 1993 after he survived a mail bomb sent by "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, who targeted universities and faculty members for decades. He founded Mirror Worlds Technologies Inc. in New Haven, Conn. Plaintiff Mirror Worlds LLC is incorporated in Tyler.

Texas counsel for Mirror Worlds is Otis Carroll of Ireland, Carroll & Kelly in Tyler.

Among counsel for Apple is Eric Albritton of the Albritton Law Firm in Longview.

Case No. 6:08-cv-00088-LED

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