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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Wisconsin jury finds Apple guilty of infringing UW patent

Wisconsin jury finds Apple guilty of infringing UW patent
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MacNN Staff
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Oct 13, 2015, 06:32 PM
Apple has been found guilty in a Wisconsin court of infringing on a patent for a "table-based data speculation circuit for [a] parallel-processing computer," granted in 1998 to the University of Wisconsin -- a patent actually cited by Apple in its own filings for a similar patent. Should the ruling not be overturned or modified on appeal, Apple could be facing damages of up to $862.4 million. The university also successfully sued Intel over the same patent, receiving an undisclosed sum in 2008.

The technology, created to lower power usage while increasing performance in processors, is used as part of the A7 Apple chip that powered the iPhone 5s and first-gen iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina, and was also used in the iPad mini 3. The A7 was particularly important to Apple as it was the first of its 64-bit mobile chips, and was particularly popular in part because of that. The jury in the case found Apple guilty of infringing all six patent claims, rejecting Apple's argument that the patent was overly broad, and thus invalid.

Apple's A7 chip. Photo by Chipworks
Apple's A7 chip. Photo by Chipworks

The school's Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which owns the patent, first sued Apple over the use of the patent in early 2014, then waited a year and a half for the trial to finally be held. In its complaint, WARF claims that Apple had a policy of not licensing patents from entities such as the school, necessitating a lawsuit; however, Apple licenses patents frequently and broadly from many companies, making it unclear why WARF believes this.

Apple will almost certainly appeal the ruling, and is likely to ask the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to investigate the patent with a view to finding it invalid.

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Oct 14, 2015, 04:56 AM
This madness must end! :-P
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Oct 14, 2015, 09:16 AM
There's little reason for feeling sympathetic with Apple. Apple believes very strongly in patents when it holds them, even dubious, overly broad ones. Witness its dogged pursuit of Samsung. For consistency sake, it should pay when someone else owns that patent. I grow tired of these giant international corporations that believe that tax, patent, and a host of other laws don't apply to them. Nor do they seem concerned about nasty, repressive regimes (China & Arab countries) when there's money to be made.
Author of Untangling Tolkien and Chesterton on War and Peace
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Oct 14, 2015, 11:17 AM
Apple: Do as I say, not as I do.
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