Technology giant, Apple Inc. is caught up in a patent feud yet again. This time Apple is in the wrong side of the battle whereby the University of Wisconsin has successfully claimed that Apple used its microchip technology without permission.
The disputed patent application, which is said to improve the power efficiency of microchip, was filed by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in 1998. The lawsuit against Apple relates to the use of the technology in the iPhone 5S and 6 Plus. An additional lawsuit making the same claim against Apple’s latest models – the 6S and 6S Plus has also been filed.
The University has claimed that Apple Inc. has ignored its offers to license the patent, therefore it is of the opinion that Apple has willfully infringed the patent. A jury of the U.S District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin rejected claims from Apple that the patent was invalid and no infringement took place. On October 13, 2015, the jury found against Apple, that it used technology owned by University of Wisconsin-Madison’s licensing arm without permission in its latest creations.
Previously, Apple denied any infringement and argued that the patent was invalid. It also tried to convince the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to review the patent’s validity, however in April the agency rejected the bid.
Apple could be facing up to $862 million in damages. The trial is scheduled to proceed in three phases: liability, damages, and finally, whether Apple infringed the patent willfully, which could lead to enhanced penalties. The damages is unlikely to cause a dent in Apples finances, who earlier this year reported its biggest quarterly profit ever of $18 billion. The exact amount of damages has not been determined yet, however it could increase if the court finds that Apple willfully infringed on the patent.
Representatives from the University or from Apple were unavailable to comment on the issue.