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Apple wins reversal in Cover Flow patent case

Apple gets a court case thrown out that would have cost the company more than $625 million for infringing on patents held by Mirror Worlds. A jury had ruled against Apple on the matter just last year.

Apple has come out the victor in a three-year-old patent infringement suit that would have cost the company more than $625 million for infringing on patents held by Mirror Worlds.

The case, in which a jury had found Apple liable last October, targeted the Cover Flow, Spotlight search, and Time Machine features found in Apple's Mac OS. The October jury ruling was fought by the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology company with an emergency motion to stay. In that motion, Apple said the damages were too high and urged the court to re-evaluate the evidence.

In the court's ruling today, which was picked up by Bloomberg, the case was turned in Apple's favor. In the conclusion section of the court's findings, U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis noted that while the jury's take on the case is important, the group might have been swayed by Mirror Worlds' argument, which the court was not sold on factually:

"The jury often relies on the representations of parties, who bear the burden of being accurate and complete and living up to the representations they make to the jury. No matter how attractive a party paints the facade of its case, it is worthless without the requisite foundational support. It is the Court's job to inspect that foundation, and where it has not been properly laid under the law, to set aside the verdict to protect the reliability of our jury system. In this case, 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. Accordingly, the Court rejects Mirror Worlds' case as to infringement and damages, while affirming it as to validity and inequitable conduct."

Mirror Worlds was founded by Yale University computer-science Professor David Gelernter. In its original claim, the company had accused Apple of infringing on its patents with its Mac OS X operating systems going back to 10.4 "Tiger," as well as in its iOS devices including the iPhone, iPods and iPad.

An Apple representative declined to comment, and legal representatives for Mirror Worlds did not immediately respond to a request for comment.