Apple has lost a patent lawsuit to the University of Wisconsin and risks paying fines of up to $860 million for utilising a design owned by the University’s licensing arm without permission.
The complaint was filed by the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation which claimed that the technology used in Apple’s A7, A8 and A8X chips infringed a patent which belongs to the university and was patented in 1998. Apple replied by stating that the patent is invalid. This opinion was not shared by a U.S. federal jury which ruled that the patent was indeed valid. The trial will now proceed to determine the sum that apple will have to pay in damages. Furthermore, the jury will also determine whether Apple infringed the patent intentionally, which if proved to be so, could lead to further penalties.
It is not the first time that the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation resorts to the courts to settle its patent disputes. In 2008, the same body sued Intel for infringement of the same patent, the case was short-lived and both parties settled the dispute out of court before the case went to trial. The sum for the settlement was not publicly disclosed, however, sources claim that Intel paid a lump sum of $110 million in order to license the patent.
We will continue to monitor the final outcome of this litigation.