Judge: University cannot get triple damages in patent fight with Apple

“The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s patent licensing body will not be able to extract triple damages from Apple as a jury weighs how much the iPhone maker must pay for using its microchip technology without permission, a U.S. judge ruled on Thursday,” Andrew Chung reports for Reuters.

“With a verdict on damages that could come as early as today, U.S. District Judge William Conley said in his ruling that WARF could not prove that Apple infringed its patent willfully,” Chung reports. “It is a welcome development for Apple, which no longer risks having the damage award increased by up to three times, which is allowed in federal law for recklessly infringing a patent.”

Chung reports, “Apple raised a reasonable defense in the case, Conley said, and WARF ‘has failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that Apple acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good news for Apple.

Apple’s newest courtroom foe is a taxpayer-funded public university – October 16, 2015
Apple faces $400 million in damages in university patent case, sources say – October 14, 2015


    1. Education has become an industry, like everything else. More effort is spent on making money, charging more, than on real education.

      No need to wonder why most graduate with a huge debt.

      1. The path to neo-indentured servitude.

        This is all from that nifty trend of infecting business practices into everything not nailed down. The end result of course is all for the purpose of parasitizing the world, which isn’t business or capitalism to begin with. IOW: The usual human self-destructive imperative. Call it greed, whatever.

        1. I’m interested in whether thing *DING*-downers really believe that business and capitalism has ANYTHING to do with the denigration or parasitism of others. Do you REALLY take that bad attitude toward your fellow humans? Is that why you disagree with my statement?

          And don’t you comprehend that denigrating another person is equal to you denigrating yourself? You don’t get that?

    2. Get can get a new stadium for far less than $400 million. For that kind of money they can build a stadium and a mall, for a pro team.

      They did say that the money will roll back into research. I just think they are milking a dead cow, for it.

      1. WARF is not part of UW-Madison. It is a separate not for profit corporation that holds the patents to protect discoveries made by UW-Madison faculty.


        This case is a lot different, in my mind, from the patent tolls going after Apple in the Eastern District of Texas federal court. There is a real question here, did Apple inadvertantly infringe on a valid patent of someone else’s invention.

        1. So WARF could be for profit? – doesn’t say non-profit, but foundation. I think it s possible to be for profit. Who is their CEO and how much to they make? This should be investigated. There are plenty of non-profit organizations with ballooning CEO pay, that pretty much skirts profiteering and taxation. Still fishy –

  1. 1. the “taxpayer funded” is a distraction or even a smear.
    2. the Foundation’s mission is to finance research.
    3. the football stadium finances research
    4. the football stadium does not need money from the WARF
    5. Apple was found guilty and to my view there is no chance that the decision will be overturned.
    6. Apple had a chance to pay the licensing fee. They declined.

    So, what can we conclude.

    Apple screwed up. The University wants their share of research benefits.

    1. No. Apple did not screw up. Patent law screwed up.

      I worked on a patent for laptop related invention a few years ago. It was intended to help laptop users be more comfortable. Spent a lot of money and time researching “prior art”. My patent was rejected because it was too similar to kitchen cutting board, a cutting board! And then it was gonna cost me more money and time to reapply.

      There’s a countless people researching on the same stuff all the time and it’s inevitable that two or more these independent researchers ending with same conclusion. Why do you think in many occasions there are multiple winners to the same nobel prize stemming from the opposite side of the globe and yet they share the prize. Should they be suing each other, instead?

      Patent is not for the good anymore. If it really was tax payer funded, it should be released free as in open source. Education Institutions were already paid for their effort in their increase in knowledge.

  2. The research universities fulfill is basic research that for-profit entities won’t touch. Basic research is the backbone that for-profit companies take to market when they see dollar signs and run with when it suites them. It has to be rewarded. Simple as that.

    1. Yes, RP, it was like that with Black-Holes research and WiFi. The problem of interference was solved using an equation/algorithm from the Astrophysics people at CSIRO. The big companies refused to recognise the patent and had to be legally obliged to pay royalties.

      I really resent the implication of ‘tax-payer funded’ and ‘patent troll’ when Apple are the free-loaders in this case, since the case seems to have merit.

      (WP) The Australian radio-astronomer Dr John O’Sullivan with his colleagues Dr Terrence Percival AM, Mr Graham Daniels, Mr Diet Ostry, Mr John Deane [4] developed a key patent used in Wi-Fi as a by-product of a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) research project, “a failed experiment to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle”.[5] In 1992 and 1996, CSIRO obtained patents[6] for a method later used in Wi-Fi to “unsmear” the signal.[7]

    2. Agree somewhat. Most basic research is funded through the grant process. Thus someone (often the public) is paying for these institutions to do the research. I therefore question why the researcher should own the patent when the research was other funded. If the research was publicly funded, shouldn’t the public own the results of this research.

      1. It goes back k to the universities, to their programs. To further advance science where a return in investment is not the point, but to advance humanity. Shouldn’t we reward these institutions for that? They provide infrastructure and faculty. If they so happen to stumble into something that has commercial value should they give it away while others just take it for free? Money is a great incentive to keep these mostly thankless programs going.

  3. It’s quite funny to see the difference in tone from MDN or commenters here when Apple gets condemned for patent infringement.

    I haven’t seen the headlines that makes MDN so entertaining this time. No “Slavish copier” or “Serial copier” or even “convicted patent infringer”. It has even been turned in some sort of Apple victory.

    Truth is that Apple get convicted for patent infringement, that Apple will have to pay 234’000’000$ for that and that it’s not the first time. All this despite the “untouchable” status and lobbying of Apple in the US.

    The hypocrisy, it burns!

    1. When it comes to lobbying in the US, Apple is notoriously stingy on that one, to the point of frustration and even outrage of many American lawmakers, demanding their entitlement to lobbying money from their richest company in the world.

      MDN seems to suggest, in is particular case, that Apple Pay the damages and move on. In other words, yes, Apple can infringe on patents as well, and when they do, they should do the right thing.

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