Apple faces $400 million in damages in university patent case, sources say

“Apple’s potential damages in a patent fight with the University of Wisconsin’s licensing body could reach $400 million as a trial on the amount Apple owes for infringing a processor patent got under way on Wednesday, two people familiar with the case said,” Andrew Chung reports for Reuters. “The figure is less than half the amount that U.S. District Judge William Conley cited last month as the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s maximum claim for damage.”

“In a pre-trial ruling on Sept. 29, Conley refused a request by Apple to limit damages in the case. He said WARF’s maximum claim was $862.4 million, citing Apple’s own figures,” Chung reports. “On Tuesday, a federal jury in Madison, Wisconsin said Apple violated a patent owned by WARF, which helps improve chip efficiency. The jury also said that the patent was valid.”

Chung reports, “But heading into the damages phase of the trial on Wednesday, WARF’s claim is approximately $400 million, according to sources from both sides speaking on background as the trial is ongoing.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And so – poof! – just like that $862 million dwindles to a mere $400 million. We’ll keep an eye on this case as it winds through the “system” to see how juries outside of Madison, Wisconsin regard this Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation patent.

Apple loses patent lawsuit to University of Wisconsin, faces up to $862 million in damages – October 13, 2015


  1. At least in this case, the patent was for a useful device and any award will go back into research.

    That a big difference from having to pay patent trolls that use any awards to fund more litigation.

    1. How is it, that a jury can say a patent is valid, when we haven’t heard a ruling from the USPO? How is it, a patent from 1998, 16 years old, could be applied to today? How is it, that this isn’t trolling behavior? Just because a University is NPO, doesn’t mean they don’t strive for money by any means possible. Troll is a troll is a troll. They are simply nice trolls with a good cause.

      We do not have enough facts to say for sure. But we do know they went after Intel, and Intel settled out of court. That doesn’t mean the patent was solid, it just means they settled. Intel is known to be philanthropic towards education and frankly they probably thought, “You need some money, how about $X amount and from our donations fund?”

      Anyway, this one smells, just like the others, until we know more. I know some people think Apple stinks like the rest of them but I am pretty sure they try to take the high road. Since they are fighting this in court, they have reason to believe this is not fair or reasonable request on the part of WARF.

      1. All patents are valid and legal, upon issue, by definition. Only when invalidated are they not legal IP.

        The term of a patent is now 20 years upon application, though various tricks are often used (continuance in part, etc.) to extend their useful life.

      2. My understanding is that Apple can, at any point, request that the USPTO review a patent for validity, with Apple providing details as to why it theoretically is not. I don’t think we know whether Apple has made that request or not.

    1. I see you think you know what your talking about – does this make you feel a bit more important? just wondering – cuz I just have this feeling you’re a know it all about nothing…

    2. We know Samsung stole Apple IP.

      We don’t know Apple stole WARF IP.

      Sometimes you can only do something one way, and if it’s obvious, the way to do it, then you really can’t patent it.

      Samsung was not stealing squares with round corners. That was a straw man argument to make Apple’s claim seem less important or childish. Apple’s claims were legitimate, and Samsung did everything in their power to make their phone seem a lot like an iPhone and iPad, to the point that the judge couldn’t tell the difference, hence the public as well.

      Current example. Apple came up with Touch ID and now 3D Touch. You bet your bottom dollar Samsung is doing the same. Before the legal battle, they would have not been concerned with how they did it. But now they are and will try to stay clear of Apple design. It seems though Samsung is up to their tricks, but instead licensing the tech from such parties as Synaptic.

      1. “We don’t know Apple stole WARF IP.”
        Willingly, or not, did.

        “Sometimes you can only do something one way, and if it’s obvious, the way to do it, then you really can’t patent it.”

        Well, and I quote…
        “On Tuesday, a federal jury in Madison, Wisconsin said Apple violated a patent owned by WARF, which helps improve chip efficiency. The jury also said that the patent was valid.”

        So that puts that argument to bed.

        What Apple had against Samsung was a Tradedress issue. These kinds of things couldn’t be patented, until the 90s, when “patent reform” allowed design, , and business practice patents. Regardless, design patents are far easier to duplicate than an intricate CPU design. The CPU design is far more complex, thus stronger IP. This was the paradox I was bringing up.

    3. apple cynic — why do you say crap like this?

      1. It is not the CPU; it is a small aspect of the chip design. You are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

      2. Apple never claimed a patent on “rounded corners”. That was Samsung’s silly assertion. If you read the patent filing, then you know very well that the phrase “rounded corners” came from the section in which the device was being described. Are you too lazy to look it up for yourself? Or do you just prefer to spout garbage?

      3. “Slide to lock” is not trivial. I’ve seen the so-called “prior art” example of “slide to lock” and they are clearly not the same. Apple’s implementation is very different.

      Patents are not use general sorts of things. They typically involve specific implementations of the thing described, which would include technology and software to make it all happen.

      Hey, there are multiple different patents on paper clips in this country over the years. “slide to lock”, and many other tech patents, are at least as important as a paper clip !

      Lastly, if Apple is in violation of the patent, Apple will pay. What’s the big deal? This happens all the time in tech. It also happens frequently that patents are found to be invalid.

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