Apple owes WiLAN $85 million in royalties, U.S. jury rules

Apple owes WiLAN $85 million in royaltiesA jury in San Diego has ruled that Apple owes WiLan $85 million for infringing patents related to wireless communications. WiLAN is a a Quarterhill Inc. company.

Why is it that Apple owes WiLAN $85 million? WiLAN invented Wideband Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing, or W-OFDM, a modulation technique that is now the standard for broadband wireless applications. Members of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) pursued W-OFDM for their developing 802.11a standard and, in September 1999, the 802.11a standard, utilizing WiLAN’s W-OFDM technology, was approved. The IEEE selected W-OFDM as the basis for its 802.11g and 802.11n standards. With these standards came a wave of low cost, high-speed Wi-Fi products, all driven by W-OFDM. In 2006, under the leadership of new CEO Jim Skippen, WiLAN focused its business on protecting and monetizing patented inventions. For the next 10 years, WiLAN would establish licensing agreements with over 320 of the world’s largest technology companies worth more than $900 million.

In a damages-only re-trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California commenced on January 21, 2020, the jury rendered its verdict today awarding WiLAN $85.23 million in damages owed to WiLAN by Apple for the infringement of WiLAN’s US patent numbers 8,457,145 and 8,537,757.

In a previous related trial verdict rendered on August 1, 2018 in the same court, the jury in that case found that Apple infringed the Patents and awarded WiLAN $145.1 million in damages. In a subsequent hearing after that 2018 verdict, the court affirmed the jury’s finding of infringement, but District Judge Dana Sabraw ruled that WiLan had used an incorrect method to calculate royalties. The judge gave WiLan the option of accepting $10 million or holding a new damages-only trial. WiLan opted for the new trial.

MacDailyNews Take: A $75.23 million boost over the previous judgement certainly sounds like a successful appeal. Now, where will Apple ever find $85 million to pay this off? 😉

Under Tim Cook’s couch cushions, most likely.


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