- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal judge has overturned a federal jury’s order that Apple Inc. pay $625.5 million in damages for violating patents held by a Mirror Worlds LLC, a small technology company.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis in Tyler, Texas, which was disclosed in a Monday court filing, dismisses one of the largest-ever patent infringement verdicts.

In his ruling Monday, the judge said that “Mirror Worlds may have painted an appealing picture for the jury, but failed to lay a solid foundation sufficient to support important elements it was required to establish under the law.”

In October, a federal jury in Tyler determined that Apple infringed on three of Mirror Worlds’ patents, which cover several features on Apple’s Mac computers, iPhones and iPods. The technologies at issue include 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.

The jury awarded Mirror Worlds $208.5 million for each patent violation.

Cupertino-based Apple had asked the U.S. District Court to wait to enforce the jury award, saying there were still issues that needed to be addressed. Among other things, Apple objected to the way the damages were calculated.

Mirror Worlds, which was founded by Yale University computer science professor David Gelernter to bring his ideas to market, initially sued Apple in 2008.

A lawyer representing Mirror Worlds had no comment. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

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