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Court nixes Apple’s motion to appeal ruling in legal battle with Network-1 Technologies

Network-1 Technologies — which “works with inventors and patent owners to assist in the development and monetization of their patented technologies” — says United States District Judge Robert Schroeder III of the Eastern District of Texas has issued an order denying a motion made by Apple to certify for appeal the court’s prior ruling denying Apple’s motion for summary judgment.

In July the judge issued an order denying motions to dismiss the patent infringement suits filed by Mirror Worlds Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Network-1, against Apple and Microsoft. At that time, the cases against the companies were stayed pending Schroeder’s opinion.

Now the judge says Apple’s motion for summary judgment arguing that Mirror Worlds was precluded under the Kessler Doctrine from initiating patent litigation against Apple because of an earlier case brought by the previous owner of the Mirror Worlds patent portfolio against Apple. In July, the judge denied Apple’s motion and granted Mirror Worlds’ cross-motion that the Kessler Doctrine does not apply.  Apple filed a motion seeking to allow it to file an interlocutory appeal (prior to a judgment) of Schroeder’s order to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2008 Mirror Worlds Technologies, a Texas-based company, accused Apple of violating four distinct but related patents that touch on creating “streams” of documents that are automatically sorted according to time stamps, including future dates assigned to calendars and other reminders. The company said that just about all of Apple’s product line infringes on a system for organizing data by time, “but draws its closest connection with the Time Machine backup feature in Mac OS X Leopard.”

In December 2014, Apple brought a motion for summary judgment based on the Kessler Doctrine arguing that Mirror Worlds was precluded from initiating patent litigation against Apple because of an earlier case brought by the previous owner of the Mirror Worlds patent portfolio against Apple. Schroeder denied the motion and granted Mirror Worlds’ motion that there was no preclusion based on the MW1 case holding that the Kessler Doctrine didn’t apply to the facts of the present Mirror Worlds case.

In early 2015, Apple and Microsoft each brought motions for a judgment on the pleadings that U.S. Patent No. 6,006,227, owned by Mirror Worlds, is invalid for covering subject matter not patentable under Section 101 of the U.S. Patent Act.  This argument was based on a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court in Alice vs. CLS Bank, which has led to the invalidation of numerous U.S. patents in the months since the decision. 

fIn June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Mirror Worlds’ appeal of an Apple victory in a patent case, putting to rest the long-running dispute. The nation’s highest court said it had denied Mirror World’s request that it consider the case related to software patents for features such as Apple’s Cover Flow. 

Cover Flow is an animated, three-dimensional graphical user interface that is integrated within the Mac OS X and other Apple products for visually flipping through snapshots of documents, website bookmarks, album artwork, or photographs. However, with the release of version 11 of iTunes, Cover Flow was removed from the iTunes interface.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.