Caltech claims 1.5 billion Apple devices are infringing their patents

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have a textured matte glass back and feature the toughest glass ever in a smartphone.
Apple’s current flagship iPhone 11 Pro Max

As a trial commenced Wednesday, a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) attorney told a California federal jury that Apple and Broadcom infringed several Caltech patents in some 1.5 billion iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks sold over the last decade.

Dennis Sellers for Apple World Today:

In May 2016 Apple and Broadcom were jointly named as defendants in a legal complaint filed by Caltech over alleged infringement of nine patented Wi-Fi-related technologies. In the court filing with the U.S. District Court for Central California, Caltech accused Apple of selling various iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch models, along with other Wi-Fi products, that incorporate IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and allegedly infringe on its patents.

MacDailyNews Take: Broadcom is the core target of this lawsuit, but Apple is one of Broadcom’s biggest customers, so they get to pay, too, if infringement is proven.


  1. I really don’t understand why it is possible to sue anyone and everyone associated with the actual target. If Broadcom infringed on the patents and sold products to 100 other companies, then hold Broadcom to blame.

    Vendors almost never let anyone see the inner workings of their components. Those are closely held hardware and software secrets. So how is company ABC supposed to know that Broadcom was potentially infringing on some esoteric patents and avoid using them as a vendor?

    Can I sue the government for providing the road that enabled the criminal to drive up to my house and loot it?

  2. KingMel, there are two basic forms of patent infringement: direct and indirect. Direct infringement is when you yourself make, use, sell, offer to sell, or import into the United States a patented product, or perform all of the steps of a patent claim. But suppose you just make one of the components of a patented system. For example, a radio chip that only infringes when it is incorporated into a mobile device. That’s indirect infringement: when you do not yourself commit direct infringement, but cause another party to do so.

    Recent court rulings have made it more difficult to prove indirect infringement. (For example, an indirect infringer has to have been at least “willfully blind” to the direct infringement.) So if your patent is being infringed, you really need to go after both indirect and direct infringers.

    (And yes, I’m sure the fact that Apple’s pockets are unfathomably deep factors into the calculus.)

    It’s actually good news for Broadcom that Apple was dragged into the lawsuit. It means that Apple’s legal team, strategy, and defense budge are allied with Broadcom’s.

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