Perhaps owing to the recent success of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in winning a patent infringement case against the Cupertino, CA company to the tune of over $200 million, Caltech has sued Apple and Broadcom for the use of four patents the university believes it owns.
Suit dates back to the introduction of the iPhone 5
The lawsuit filed recently alleges that Apple and Broadcom are using four proprietary Wi-Fi patents. What’s more the suit is alleging that the companies are doing so with full knowledge that they are in clear violation of intellectual property rights. The iPhone 5 was introduced in September 2012 and was the sixth generation of the iconic iPhone. The suit is essentially seeking compensation from the company on nearly every device they have released since then which has brought the company billions upon billions in sales.
Apple has yet to respond to the claims made by Caltech but this won’t be going away anytime soon.
Caltech says that its looking for both compensation and Apple to stop the production of products employing the technology that the university believes it owns. That is likely just the tough talk of lawyers as the university certainly doesn’t expect Apple to stop making the iPhone any time soon and I doubt would like to be considered the entity that effectively brings Apple’s core business to a standstill.
Specifically, Caltech takes issue with the 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards employed by many and effectively give you the Internet that you’ve become accustomed to using each day when it comes to WiFi with Caltech believing that its patents “allow for faster data transmissions.” Additionally, the plaintiff says that its patents allow for more simplified hardware in the iPhone and iPad and consequently lower manufacturing costs for Apple and others.
Apple is clearly making the headlines but Broadcom is an additional defendant; Broadcom is the supplier (to Apple) of the iPhones, iPads and Macbooks that Caltech alleges is using its patents.
While Texas is rife with patent trolls who have enjoyed success in enforcing patent cases that many view as madness, universities generally file these suits in good faith and as a matter of principle and often win given that they, again generally, have the firm belief that they are going to win the case and have adequate evidence to prove their claims.
Caltech put no number forward when asked what they believe they are owed but made it clear that they are seeking “adequate” compensation and will not be looking to settle for peanuts. It’s largely believed that Apple got off easy when ordered to pay the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation $234 million last year for the use of patents that ran its A7, A8 and A8X processors in both iPads and a number of iPhones. Apple could have been ordered to pay nearly $900 million.
Quite simply this will not be the last time that Apple will be accused of patent infringement and the company itself will accuse others of the same and is presently embroiled with its own fights for compensation from others. Samsung and Apple, as long as they are competitors and the industry leaders when it comes to smartphone manufacturing have at least one suit against the other at all times. Apple has won a fair bit off of Samsung in the past and vice versa and that’s not something that is going to change for at least the end of the decade barring the end of the world occurring soon.