Apple Inc.’s victory in a patent-infringement case was left intact as the U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed a Texas company’s effort to revive a $208.5 million verdict against the computer maker.
The high court declined to hear a case in which closely held Mirror Worlds LLC said an appeals court erred in ruling that Apple didn’t infringe a software patent for a way to index and file documents. Mirror Worlds was co-founded by Yale University computer-science Professor David Gelernter.
Mirror Worlds sued in 2008, claiming Apple’s Mac computers infringed its patents. The suit focused on Apple’s Spotlight file search technology used in its Tiger, Leopard and Snow Leopard operating systems. Mirror Worlds said Spotlight was based on a demonstration it performed for the company.
A federal jury in Texas awarded $208.5 million for each of three patents in October 2010. The trial judge overturned the verdict, saying Mirror Worlds failed to establish its case, and that ruling was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in September. The appeal to the Supreme Court involved one of the patents.
Mirror Worlds argued that the appeals court improperly barred the jury from considering Apple’s touting of Spotlight as proof that consumers used the feature.
Apple said the judge and appellate court correctly ruled that Mirror Worlds hadn’t shown that Apple customers performed the steps covered by the patent.
Network-1 Security Solutions Inc., a New York-based patent-licensing company, bought the Mirror Worlds patents in May for $3 million plus warrants to buy shares of Network-1.
The Supreme Court case is Mirror Worlds LLC v Apple Inc., 12-1158.
The appellate case is Mirror Worlds LLC v. Apple Inc., 11-1392, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The trial court case is Mirror Worlds LLC v. Apple Inc., 08cv88, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).