Apple Ordered To Pay Over $600 Million… For Patent Infringement Of Cover Flow?
from the you-can't-be-serious dept
I’d been meaning to write about the absolutely ridiculous Mirror Worlds patent infringement lawsuit against Apple for a few weeks now, not realizing a ruling was going to come so quickly. A few weeks ago, the Yale local newspaper had a really laughable one-sided article talking about how Apple had “stolen” the technology behind three of its offerings: cover flow, spotlight and time machine, because a Yale spinoff company, Mirror Worlds, had sued Apple for patent infringement. The original lawsuit covered four patents:
- 6,006,227: Document stream operating system
- 6,638,313: Document stream operating system
- 6,725,427: Document stream operating system with document organizing and display facilities
- 6,768,999: Enterprise, stream-based, information management system
The Yale article only takes the side of Yale computer science professor David Gelernter, who whines about not getting “credit” for his brilliant invention. Either that, or perhaps (just perhaps) multiple people were able to come up with the same basic ideas. This is what’s so frustrating about reporting on patent issues. Everyone likes to report on how ideas were “stolen,” when the vast majority of cases involve independent invention (often of obvious ideas).
This case went quickly, and amazingly the court has ordered Apple to pay over $600 million, claiming that it infringed on three of the patents and that it has to pay over $200 million for each of the three products that infringed. Apple is appealing, noting that, at the very least, charging $200 million on each product is, in effect, “triple dipping.”
What’s left unsaid is the blatant insanity of having to pay anywhere near $200 million for the way in which you display CD covers in iTunes. How anyone can see such a verdict and not think the patent system is horribly, horribly broken is beyond me.