Apple ordered to pay university $234M after losing iPhone chip patent case

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Just a few days ago we heard how Apple had lost a patent case against the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), protector of the University of Wisconsin’s intellectual rights and patents.

A Madison, Wisconsin jury had on Tuesday decided that Apple’s A7, A8, and A8X processors, found in recent versions of the iPhone, as well as several iPad models, violate a WARF patent for improving chip efficiency.

According to Reuters, the same jury on Friday ruled that Apple should pay the university $234 million in damages for the infringement. While still a substantial amount, it’s nearly half of the $400 million WARF was claiming, and well down from the $862 million it was originally seeking.

As is usual in such cases, Apple said it plans to appeal the decision.

WARF managing director Carl Gulbrandsen described the jury’s decision as “great news,” adding that it was vital to defend the university’s inventions from unauthorized use by other companies and organizations.

The patent at the center of the case was granted in 1998 and was invented by a number of current and former researchers at the University of Wisconsin.

WARF’s legal team had demanded a royalty payment of $2.74 per device sold, while the iPhone maker, referring to a case in 2008 regarding the same patent where Intel settled for $110 million, said the rate should be just 7 cents per unit.

According to calculations made by the Wisconsin State Journal, the jury ended up choosing a royalty rate of around $1.60 per unit sold.

The court’s decision will boost the confidence of WARF lawyers who’re currently working on a second patent-related case against Apple. Launched last month, it centers on the latest A9 and A9X chips used inside the recently released iPhone 6S and 6S Plus devices, as well as the iPad Pro.


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