Apple Loses Patent Lawsuit, Could Owe $862.4 Million

Adding fuel to the fire of Apple’s legal woes is a lawsuit, filed last year by the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), which alleges that the company infringed on WARF’s processor patents when fabricating the A7, A8, and A8X chips. These aforementioned processors, as you may know, were featured in the Cupertino giant’s iPhone and iPad lineup from 2013 and 2014.

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As was first reported by Reuters, a Wisconsin jury recently found Apple guilty of infringing on the patent owned by WARF, even despite Apple’s claim that the patent in question was invalid, and thus, no infringement had taken place. Nevertheless, as the result of the verdict, the Cupertino giant could potentially face having to pay up to $862 million in damages to WARF.

The patent in question, you’re probably wondering, was granted to WARF in 1998, and covers a particular method of enhancing processor efficiency — known as “Table based data speculation circuit for parallel processing computer.” The patent filing lists several current and former UW researchers as the owners.

“Cupertino, California-based Apple denied any infringement and argued that the patent is invalid, according to court papers. Apple previously tried to convince the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to review the patents validity, however in April the bid was rejected by the agency. According to a ruling by presiding U.S. District Judge William Conley, Apple could be liable for up to $862.4 million in damages.

The trial has been staged as a multi-phasic process of determination. Now that the jury has officially concluded that Apple did, in fact, implement the university’s technology, the trial will move on to the second stage, during which a decision will be made in regards to the damages owed. Following that second phase of the trial, there will be a third phase, specifically to determine whether or not Apple willfully infringed on the patent. If that’s ultimately determined to be the case, Apple could owe substantially more to WARF, after all is said and done.

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Adding insult to injury, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation has filed an additional lawsuit against Apple in regards to the same patent, which accuses the company of employing the technology in its most recent A9 and A9X chips, as well, which are featured in the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and the forthcoming iPad Pro.

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