Apple ordered to pay $234m in patent lawsuit
A federal court in the US gave its verdict on a patent lawsuit between Apple and University of Wisconsin. The verdict requires Apple to pay $234 million to Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) for infringing a patent on microprocessor technology developed by WARF researchers. Although the amount was less than the $400 million initially demanded by WARF, Apple has decided to appeal the verdict.
WARF's patent regarding improvement of processor chip efficiency was awarded to them by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 1998. It was issued to University of Wisconsin-Madison Computer Science professor Gurindar Sohi, and three graduate students - Andreas Moshovos, Scott Breach and Terani Vijaykumar. According to Sohi, it took 11 years to develop the technology. WARF sued Apple in January 2014.
Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) sued computer chip manufacturer Intel Corp in 2008 over the same patent. However, the case was settled out of court for an estimated $110 million.
A US jury came to conclude, in the Apple v WARF case, that Apple had indeed violated a WARF patent regarding improvement of processor efficiency. The decision came after the jury considered whether Apple's A7, A8 and A8X processors used in iPhones 5s, 6 and 6Plus violated the patent. The trial will now assess Apple's liability which could be as high as $862 million.
WARF claimed $400 million in damages from Apple for violating its patent. Morgan Chu, attorney for WARF argued that Apple should pay $2.74 for every unit which violated the patent, while William Lee, Apple's attorney argued that the royalty should be 70 cents per unit. From WARF's $400 million claim and Chu's statement, it could be concluded that 145 million Apple units were involved.
According to the offical website of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), WARF uses a part of its own income to fund research in schools. In 2014 itself, WARF reportedly gave out research grants of $58 million.