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Apple facing massive damages after University of Wisconsin wins chip patent case

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Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California

While some tech-related firms are finding ways to resolve their patent-related disputes out of court rather than entering into long, drawn-out legal battles, some evidently feel they have a strong enough case to see it through to the end.

Take, for example, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), which protects the University of Wisconsin’s intellectual rights and patents. It’s just won a case against the mighty Apple – a company with plenty of experience when it comes to patent-related court action – for infringement of one of its processor patents.

The tech giant may have to cough up a whopping $862 million in damages after a Madison, Wisconsin jury decided the company’s A7, A8, and A8X processors – found in recent versions of the iPhone, as well as several iPad models – violate a patent for improving chip efficiency, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The patent at the center of the dispute was granted way back in 1998, with papers showing it was invented by a number of current and former researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Apple had argued that the patent was invalid and therefore impossible to infringe, but the court rejected the claim.

The next stage of the trial involves the determination of a precise amount of damages. However, after that, a ruling will be made as to whether Apple willfully infringed the patent, a decision which, if it goes against the company, could lead to further financial penalties.

And it could get worse for Apple. WARF launched a second patent claim against the company just last month that focuses on the latest A9 and A9X chips found inside the recently released iPhone 6S and 6S Plus devices, as well as the iPad Pro.