Texas Judge Throws Out $625M Jury Award Against Apple - In House
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Texas Judge Throws Out $625M Jury Award Against Apple

Apple's legal team won a big one in Texas.

A federal judge threw out an earlier $625 million verdict against Apple in a patent-infringement case, overturning one of the largest settlements ever awarded in a patent case and fueling debate on software copyright in general.

A jury in federal court in Tyler, Texas -- which often handles complex patent cases -- last year found that Apple infringed three of Mirror Worlds' patents, awarding the company $208.5 million for each patent, or $625.5 million overall, Reuters reports.

Apple appealed the verdict over how documents are displayed on a computer screen, and the court has granted its request to strike the award, saying Mirror Worlds did not provide enough evidence in the trial.

"Mirror Worlds may have painted an appealing picture for the jury, but it failed to lay a solid foundation sufficient to support important elements it was required to establish under the law," U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Davis wrote in the ruling.

Mirror Worlds had argued that several features on Apple's computers -- Spotlight, Cover Flow and Time Machine -- used its own patented software for archiving and displaying documents, Bloomberg reports.

Closely held Mirror Worlds, founded by Yale University computer-science Professor David Gelernter, sued in 2008, claiming Apple's Mac computers infringed its patents for a way documents are displayed on a computer screen, Bloomberg reports. Apple challenged the validity of the patents and whether they were infringed.

The trial focused on the Spotlight, Time Machine and Cover Flow features in Apple's Mac operating systems. Cover Flow lets users scroll through album cover art when browsing for music in their iTunes libraries. The feature also works for documents, pictures and other material stored in a computer. Spotlight searches the computer's hard drive while Time Machine automatically saves copies of files.

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