Apple found in infringement of University of Wisconsin CPU patent, faces $862M in damages

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2015
A Wisconsin jury on Tuesday found Apple in infringement of computer processor patent owned by the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, a ruling that could potentially lead to a damages payout of $862.4 million.


Inside look at Apple's A7. | Source: Chipworks


Trial proceedings began on Oct. 5, over a year and a half after WARF first filed its complaint against Apple with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in early 2014. In its case, WARF asserts Apple incorporated patented computer microarchitecture into the A7, A8 and A8X system-on-chip designs, components used in numerous iOS devices. As the University of Wisconsin's non-profit patent management body, WARF patents and licenses inventions developed at the institution, with proceeds gained put toward future research projects.

The IP in question, U.S. Patent No. 5,781,752 for a "Table based data speculation circuit for parallel processing computer," was granted to a University of Wisconsin team led by Dr. Gurindar Sohi in 1998. According to WARF and original patent claims, the '752 patent focuses on improving power efficiency and overall performance in modern computer processor designs by utilizing "data speculation" circuit, also known as a branch predictor.

It was argued that Apple willfully infringed on the '752 patent, as it cited the property in its own patent filings. Further, the lawsuit claims Apple refused WARF's requests to license the IP.

The initial complaint named A7 and all the products it powered at the time, a list that included iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and iPad Mini with Retina display. Apple subsequently incorporated the chip into iPad mini 3 models. The A8 and A8X SoCs were later added to the suit and affect iPhone 6, 6 Plus and multiple iPad versions.

WARF leveraged the same patent against Intel's Core 2 Duo CPU in 2008, a case settled out of court in 2009 for an undisclosed sum, according to a 2014 report from The Register.

Apple introduced its dual-core, ARM-based A7 chip with iPhone 5s in 2013 as the world's first consumer ready 64-bit mobile processor. The chip also included an embedded secure enclave that stores operational data for iPhone 5s and iPad mini 3 Touch ID fingerprint systems.

After deliberating, the jury found Apple guilty of infringing upon all six asserted patent claims, while dismissing Apple's attempts to prove patent invalidity. Damages have yet to be assigned, but court documents show WARF is seeking an award of up to $862.4 million.

WARF filed a separate lawsuit last month asserting the same patent against Apple's latest A9 and A9X chips incorporated in the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and upcoming iPad Pro.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 91

    Yet Samsung was required to pay only half of that. Go figure...

  • Reply 2 of 91
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,206member

    $862M buys a lot of weed!

  • Reply 3 of 91
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

     

    Yet Samsung was required to pay only half of that. Go figure...




    They need to be like Samsung and keep fighting it through all courts and not pay anything!!

  • Reply 4 of 91
    Hmm, let's see. A Wisconsin jury found a California company liable for patent violations of a Wisconsin entity in a Wisconsin court. I'd love to see what a non-Wisconsin jury would have concluded. I'm no expert, but I say fight it, Apple.
  • Reply 5 of 91
    How dare the University merely not donate it's research and technology to Apple. The gall of anyone to think they shouldn't cede all their ideas, material possessions and soul to the Apple mother ship.

    I love Apple...own almost all the major products they've ever shipped since 1985. But I love them less all the time.
  • Reply 6 of 91
    I had to post before someone used the term "Mac cult members" to dismiss any opinions they didn't like. Looks like I'm too late.
  • Reply 7 of 91
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CraigAppleW View Post



    I had to post before the inevitable Mac cult members showed up to predictably defend Apple and attack the other party...in this case the university.



    How dare the University merely not donate it's research and technology to Apple. The gall of anyone to think they shouldn't cede all their ideas, material possessions and soul to the Apple mother ship.



    I love Apple...own almost all the major products they've ever shipped since 1985. But I love them less all the time. And I'm really fed up with the always-on 24/7 Apple apologists, including the sold out "journalists" and blogosphere types.



    Congratulations!  You have posted a near-perfect "concern troll."

    As in "I am a longtime fan of Brand X, but recently they have lost their way, yadda yadda."

    A textbook example.  

     

    Read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll#Concern_troll

  • Reply 8 of 91
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,617member
    Why are they not suing ARM?
  • Reply 9 of 91
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CraigAppleW View Post



    I had to post before the inevitable Mac cult members showed up to predictably defend Apple and attack the other party...in this case the university.



    How dare the University merely not donate it's research and technology to Apple. The gall of anyone to think they shouldn't cede all their ideas, material possessions and soul to the Apple mother ship.



    I love Apple...own almost all the major products they've ever shipped since 1985. But I love them less all the time. And I'm really fed up with the always-on 24/7 Apple apologists, including the sold out "journalists" and blogosphere types.



    You are assuming Apple is actually guilty. Jury decisions get overturned every day on appeals, especially in patent cases. Let the legal process run its course before making your scurrilous comments. It’s YOU who have rushed to judgement this day, as well as the so-called apologists. But I suppose you will accuse the legal system of being bought off by Apple too if this decision is overturned on appeal. Pot, kettle, black.

  • Reply 10 of 91
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 767member
    I had to post before the inevitable Mac cult members showed up to predictably defend Apple and attack the other party...in this case the university.

    How dare the University merely not donate it's research and technology to Apple. The gall of anyone to think they shouldn't cede all their ideas, material possessions and soul to the Apple mother ship.

    I love Apple...own almost all the major products they've ever shipped since 1985. But I love them less all the time. And I'm really fed up with the always-on 24/7 Apple apologists, including the sold out "journalists" and blogosphere types.
    Your mistake is in thinking that most people here are anything but apologists for the largest company in the world. Rationality, impartiality and in some cases, integrity, play no part in these types of forums. You should know better. Unless you just wanted to screw with them in which case you are right on track.
  • Reply 11 of 91
    I see the legion of puppets have rolled in to post...eager to defend the biggest world in the company... from any possible disparagement... from all possible source...from each unpleasant factual reality.
  • Reply 12 of 91
    I had to post before the inevitable Mac cult members showed up to predictably defend Apple and attack the other party...in this case the university.

    How dare the University merely not donate it's research and technology to Apple. The gall of anyone to think they shouldn't cede all their ideas, material possessions and soul to the Apple mother ship.

    I love Apple...own almost all the major products they've ever shipped since 1985. But I love them less all the time. And I'm really fed up with the always-on 24/7 Apple apologists, including the sold out "journalists" and blogosphere types.

    Welcome to the Block List, Mr concern troll.



    Intel settled with Wisconsin over this exact same patent. Apple very likely infringes it, since it's been said that the A7 (and subsequent processors) have more in common with Intel desktop processors than they do with ARM mobile processors. This looks like one of those cases where engineers come up with a similar solution and end up infringing a previous patent.

    Apple should just take a license like Intel did, though I'm not sure Wisconsin deserves almost a billion dollars for a single patent on something as ridiculously complex as a processor.
  • Reply 13 of 91
    irnchriz wrote: »
    Why are they not suing ARM?

    Because Apple processors are custom designs which are FAR MORE COMPLEX than actual ARM designs.
  • Reply 14 of 91
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CraigAppleW View Post



    I had to post before the inevitable Mac cult members showed up to predictably defend Apple and attack the other party...in this case the university.



    How dare the University merely not donate it's research and technology to Apple. The gall of anyone to think they shouldn't cede all their ideas, material possessions and soul to the Apple mother ship.



    I love Apple...own almost all the major products they've ever shipped since 1985. But I love them less all the time. And I'm really fed up with the always-on 24/7 Apple apologists, including the sold out "journalists" and blogosphere types.



    Boy, somebody is an unhappy camper. You miss the whole point. It's not like Apple is out to cheat WARF. This issue is the patents. WARF claims they had this patent in 1998. Problem is, I (and by "I", I means thousands of college students) was developing predictive branching algorithms in 1980 in college as a Computer Science major. As a engineer at IBM, we were developing them in 1983 and before. Apple is right to question the validity of something that was being actively developed decades before at other universities and businesses. WARF also claims their patent was for "improving power efficiency and overall performance". DUH!!! Who isn't? The problem is not Apple or WARF, it's our broken PTO. Can you tell me what WARF has done with those patents that have benefited society, you, anyone?  At least Apple and other tech companies create products from which many can benefit. And do you honestly think WARF would have sued Apples for millions if Apple wasn't so successful? No, they wouldn't. They see the money and want some of it.

  • Reply 15 of 91

    I would think Wisconsin's governor would rather a wealthy corporation like Apple own this intellectual property than let it be squandered by a socialist state institution. On the other hand, now he can cut the university budget even more and have it be funded entirely by Apple's damage award. Disclaimer: my comment is designed to be snarky and may be divorced from my actual political views.

  • Reply 16 of 91
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 879member
    Hard business to be in. Everybody suing everybody. It's in the price of the product now days...
  • Reply 17 of 91
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    rezwits wrote: »
    Hard business to be in. Everybody suing everybody. It's in the price of the product now days...

    Sucks for the customers, since the cost of all these lawsuits have to get factored into the cost of the devices we purchase.
  • Reply 18 of 91
    I see the legion of puppets have rolled in to post...eager to defend the biggest world in the company... from any possible disparagement... from all possible source...from each unpleasant factual reality.

    You've been spinning that since you got here. Care to enter into a discussion about the specifics of this patent case, or are you just here to troll about the "cult members" and "puppets"?
  • Reply 19 of 91

    Needless to say, this will be appealed. :p

  • Reply 20 of 91
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    I see the legion of puppets have rolled in to post...eager to defend the biggest world in the company... from any possible disparagement... from all possible source...from each unpleasant factual reality.

    You fail to see that the comments you've received aren't about Apple, but the patent system as a whole. The same goes for Apple suing Samsung, or some other university suing some other company you've never heard of. Don't you at all find it curious that Apple is being sued here when this isn't an uncommon patent or an uncommon addition to CPUs? You mention Apple is the "biggest world in the company [sic]" and don't once question that as a motive for a lawsuit. That isn't to say that Apple isn't guilty, but you're ignoring what others are saying about the US patent system in the first place.
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