Apple’s newest courtroom foe is a taxpayer-funded public university

“As a veteran of the global smart phone wars, Apple is used to courtroom battles with fierce competitors such as Samsung and Nokia,” Andrew Chung reports for Reuters. “This week, however, a federal jury returned a verdict against Apple in a lawsuit brought by a different kind of adversary: a public university.”

‘The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s licensing arm, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, convinced a jury that Apple had infringed its patent for improving chip efficiency when the company incorporated the technology into some of its phones and tablets,” Chung reports. “Since 2000, the foundation has filed 33 lawsuits against 31 different defendants, according to a Reuters analysis of federal court data maintained by RPX Corp, a patent risk management firm.”

“In the current case, WARF is claiming $400 million in damages from Apple. As the dispute over how much the iPhone maker owes is hashed out, critics are questioning whether schools receiving public money for research should be engaged in hostile patent litigation,” Chung reports. “‘Government funding is being used to go after some of our most innovative companies,’ said Robin Feldman, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law. ‘Do we want taxpayer money to fund this behavior?'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Properly-issued patents – which not all patents are, not by a long shot – should be protected regardless of owner. If it is found that Apple really infringed, they should compensate the patent holder. Now, should taxpayer-funded inventions be free for all to use? Even for companies based in other countries? Of course, not. Taxpayers should not be funding the R&D of companies based in foreign countries. Therefore, patents should also protect the research of public universities.

Apple faces $400 million in damages in university patent case, sources say – October 14, 2015

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