Lawsuits against Apple are pretty common, with a huge number of them coming from individuals claiming that the tech giant infringed on their patents in one way or another. While some of the lawsuits against Apple are quite farfetched and bordering on the ridiculous, one case stands apart from the rest of the so-called "patent troll" cases, simply because Apple actually lost.
The man behind the lawsuit, David Gelernter, does not really fit the conventional profile of a patent troll. Patent trolls are usually eccentric individuals with rather outlandish claims, just like the Florida man who recently filed a case against Apple, claiming that he was the one who originally invented the iPhone. Gelernter, however, is completely different.
Gelernter is one of the nation's most prominent computer scientists in the last few decades. His tenure in the IT industry is long and storied, and he continues to be a very active in the information technology community until today. Currently working as a professor at Yale, he is also a pretty established writer and businessman.
His case against Apple began in 2001 when he started an IT firm, Mirror Worlds LLC. Though the firm started off fine, the recession in the tech sector during the following years eventually forced his company to shut down in 2004. Nevertheless, Gelernter was able to file and develop a number of tech advancements during the years his firm was still active.
Back in 2008, Gelernter sued Apple, claiming that a number of the tech giant's services, such as Spotlight, Cover flow, and the Time Machine, were infringing on his patents. Two years later, the jury decided that the Yale professor was right, granting him a pretty hefty $625 million.
Eventually, however, the judge who oversaw the case decided that Mirror World's lawyers have not sufficiently argued their case. Ultimately, the $625 million was taken away, and though Gelernter's lawyers appealed, it took the courts a long time to eventually set the records straight.
Ultimately, the courts granted Gelernter $25 million for the case. Though the amount is nowhere close to the original $625 million granted in 2010, it is, nonetheless, a very substantial amount. In a lot of ways, it does show that at the end of the day, Gelernter is perhaps not a patent troll after all.