Apple to Pay University US$234m for Patent Infringement

Not too long ago Apple was involved in disputes with Samsung regarding patent infringements.  Now the company has lost a case against the University of Wisconsin for using patented microchips in its devices.

WARF (the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation) was claiming damages for US$400 million but the jury only awarded them US$234 million.  This follows the claim that Apple used microchip technology developed by the university in iPhones and iPads without seeking any permission to do so.

Apple argued that the patent only entitled WARF to 7 cents (US) per device sold, whereas the university was claiming US$2.74 per device for the infringement.  U.S. District Judge William Conley, the presiding judge in the case, ruled that Apple had not intended to infringe upon the WARF patent, which limited the company’s liability and excluded the chance of triple damages.

The verdict was given at the federal court in Madison, Wisconsin; following the second phase of the trial that began on the 5th of October.  The jury came to a decision after a three and a half hour deliberation, in which the jurors had to decide whether Apple’s A7, A8 and A8X processors (used in the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, as well as some iPads) were in violation of the WARF patent.  WARF Managing Director Carl Gulbrandsen welcomed the decision as an important step in protecting the university’s inventions from unauthorized use.  Apple representatives said the company would appeal the verdict.

This is also not the first time that WARF has gone up against Apple.  In January 2014, the university accused Apple of infringing on a 1998 patent for a ‘predictor circuit’ which was developed by Gurindar Sohi (a computer science professor) and three of his students.  Last month, WARF also launched another lawsuit targeting Apple’s newest chips in devices such as the iPad Pro, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

WARF uses the funds it generates to support research at the university.  According to their website, they awarded over US$58 million in research grants last year.