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Apple challenges $625.5M patent-infringement award to Yale prof

Apple Inc. is challenging a federal jury’s order that it pay $625.5 million in damages for violating the patents of a small technology company founded by a Yale professor, reports the Associated Press. If upheld, the verdict would be one of the largest in a patent lawsuit. On Oct. 1, a jury found that Apple infringed on three patents held by Mirror Worlds LLC, a company founded by Yale University computer science professor David Gelernter to commercialize his ideas. The patents cover characteristic features on Apple’s Macintosh computers, iPods, and iPhones, including Cover Flow, which lets users flip through album covers and other content as if through a stack of cards; Time Machine, which performs automatic backups; and Spotlight, which is software for searching computer hard drives. Over the weekend, Apple asked the U.S. District Court to hold off on imposing the jury award; among other things, Apple objects to the way the damages were calculated. In 1991, before access to the World Wide Web was mainstream, Gelernter published a book that laid out a vision of the future in which people can access and interpret unprecedented volumes of real-time, real-world data using a computer. A decade later, Gelernter’s Mirror Worlds launched its first and only product, Scopeware, which could organize all sorts of information on a timeline, or “lifestream.” From descriptions at the time, Scopeware had a similar look to and functionality as Apple’s Cover Flow, which is built into the company’s Mac OS X operating system and the software that runs on iPods and other devices…

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