On October 1st, 2010, a jury awarded Mirror Worlds LLC $625.5 million in a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple Inc. over three patents. The three patents at issue include the prominent “Cover Flow” feature in Apple’s iPod, iPhone and Mac operating systems. Mirror Worlds is a small technology company founded by Professor David Gelernter of Yale University. The Mirror World patents are directed to the display of documents on a computer screen.
Mirror Worlds LLC v. Apple Inc. highlights the importance of protecting intellectual property, especially in small companies. A comprehensive patent portfolio brings value to emerging technology companies. In the United States, inventors lose the right to obtain a patent if an application is filed more than a year after first public disclosure of the claimed technology. To obtain international protection in most other countries, a patent application must be filed before any public disclosure. It is important to develop a strategy early in order to retain your intellectual property rights.