Wisconsin court orders Apple to pay $234M for WARF patent infringement

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2015
A federal court in Wisconsin on Friday ruled Apple must pay $234 million in damages for infringing on a microprocessor technology patent owned by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the University of Wisconsin's patent licensing body




The $234.2 million decision, handed in after about three and a half hours of deliberation, is less than the $400 million WARF had been seeking in its suit against Apple, reports Reuters. Apple on Tuesday was found to have infringed upon patented computer microarchitecture with its A7, A8 and A8X system-on-chip designs used in iPhones and iPad.

Specifically, the lawsuit leveraged claims from a single WARF patent against Apple's highly successful iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini products. Court documents suggested Apple could potentially pay out as much as $862 million for using "predictor circuit" technology outlined in the 1998 patent.

WARF first filed suit against Apple in early 2014, saying the company willfully infringed on its patent as evidenced by citations to the property in Apple's own patent filings. Further, the lawsuit claims Apple refused requests to legally license the IP.

WARF previously used the patent in question, No. 5,781,752, to force Intel into a settlement in 2008, claiming the chip maker's Core 2 Duo CPU infringed on claims identical to those asserted against Apple. The Wisconsin University branch also 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 28
    So much for nearly $1 Billion.
  • Reply 2 of 28

    Weren't company's using this type of stuff in the 80's? Win for the patent trolls. 

  • Reply 3 of 28
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,276member
    I think the "nearly a $Billion" mentioned in a prior article was the product of someone's imagination. It's not what the University was asking for.

    Side comment: The judge would be the one to determine willful infringement and as there's no mention of it I guess that's off the table as well?

    EDIT: I see that at one point the University was asking for north of $800M, but quite recently decided to reduce it to $400M, forgoing royalties for product sold before Apple was officially notified of infringement. So yeah I guess the original mention of close to a $B was accurate after all.
  • Reply 4 of 28
    idreyidrey Posts: 640member
    Can Apple appeal this? I hope they do. Didn't they say
    This was a nonprofit patent? So much for that!
    And if Apple has to pay, can they use ?Pay?
  • Reply 5 of 28
    I think Apple may still try to invalidate the patent as some have noted the technology had prior art. Intel settled because they were caught breaking a NDA, when the WARF inventor presented to them prior to the patent being issued. Not sure why the USPTO have been resistant to review - they certainly are happy to review and invalidate Apple patents for Samsung when they ask.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,276member
    teejay2012 wrote: »
    I think Apple may still try to invalidate the patent as some have noted the technology had prior art. Intel settled because they were caught breaking a NDA, when the WARF inventor presented to them prior to the patent being issued. Not sure why the USPTO have been resistant to review - they certainly are happy to review and invalidate Apple patents for Samsung when they ask.
    Apple already has tried to have the patent tossed, first thru the USPTO and then arguing before the court. Both of those attempts failed.
  • Reply 7 of 28
    vampicide wrote: »
    Weren't company's using this type of stuff in the 80's? Win for the patent trolls. 
    The more correct term is "Non Practicing Entity". A University, as John Gruber explains, conducts research, not make commercial products, which is what WARF does with its patent royalties - conduct research that is.
  • Reply 8 of 28
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,138member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TeeJay2012 View Post



    I think Apple may still try to invalidate the patent as some have noted the technology had prior art. Intel settled because they were caught breaking a NDA, when the WARF inventor presented to them prior to the patent being issued. Not sure why the USPTO have been resistant to review - they certainly are happy to review and invalidate Apple patents for Samsung when they ask.

    This all goes back to P.A. Semi and the team that Apple acquired in 2008 which included the developers of the DEC Alpha. The name Jim Keller is important in that he is a renown industry architect who most recently left AMD, who he joined after leaving Apple in 2012.

     

    Of course Apple will appeal and attempt to invalidate it; they had Daniel W. Dobberpuhl and Jim Keller working on the low power CPU architecture that U of W is accused of infringing.

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEC_Alpha

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Keller_(engineer)

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_W._Dobberpuhl

  • Reply 9 of 28
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,276member
    tmay wrote: »
    This all goes back to P.A. Semi and the team that Apple acquired in 2008 which included the developers of the DEC Alpha. The name Jim Keller is important in that he is a renown industry architect who most recently left AMD, who he joined after leaving Apple in 2012.

    Of course Apple will appeal and attempt to invalidate it
    The USPTO declined to review it because the evidence Apple submitted last year in an Inter Partes attempt was too weak to demonstrate a likelihood the claims were invalid. Apple then used the game general invalidity claims this year with the court who also deemed the arguments lacked merit. It's gonna be tough to get the patent dismissed. Apple certainly might find other reasons to show the asserted claims are questionable beside what they've come up with so far, the fat lady ain't sung yet, so it can't be ruled out.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Vampicide View Post



    Weren't company's using this type of stuff in the 80's? Win for the patent trolls. 


    The more correct term is "Non Practicing Entity". A University, as John Gruber explains, conducts research, not make commercial products, which is what WARF does with its patent royalties - conduct research that is.



    No. 'Technically' they 'are' a Non Practicing Entity. But the term "Patent Troll" is the term that is more correct.

  • Reply 11 of 28
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,138member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    The USPTO declined to review it because the evidence Apple submitted last year in an Inter Partes attempt was too weak to demonstrate a likelihood the claims were invalid. Apple then used the game general invalidity claims this year with the court who also deemed the arguments lacked merit. It's gonna be tough to get the patent dismissed. Apple certainly might find other reasons to show the asserted claims are questionable beside what they've come up with so far, the fat lady ain't sung yet, so it can't be ruled out.

    Not saying that anything will happen with the invalidity claim, but Apple will almost certainly appeal the judgement.

     

    Interesting that U of W is asking $2.74 per unit whereas Intel paid $0.07 per unit for licensing; that't a pretty steep difference. 

     

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-14/university-seeking-400-million-from-apple-in-patent-dispute.

     

    Certainly, the P.A. Semi crew would have been aware of any possible infringement; not sure how this would have slipped by Apple legal.

     

    I expect that it will end with a negotiated settlement at a lower rate, but if not, Apple can afford it.

     

    EDIT:

     

    I just happened to come upon this;

     

    http://venturebeat.com/2015/10/16/intel-has-1000-people-working-on-chips-for-the-iphone/

     

    This would be a modem chip, likely targeted at the iPhone 7.

  • Reply 12 of 28
    Quote:


     Originally Posted by Vampicide View Post



    Weren't company's using this type of stuff in the 80's? Win for the patent trolls. 


     

     

    ---

    Actually this patent is about predicting load/store pairs that may access the same address in an out-of-order core and then speculatively executing them (so not branch prediction).  So it wasn't being used in the 80's.

  • Reply 13 of 28
    “Ermahgerd!! Perten trulls!" http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/10/ermahgerd-girl-true-story

    Dudes. Table based branch prediction? Gimme a F***ing break.
  • Reply 14 of 28
    bobschlob wrote: »

    But the term "Patent Troll" is the term that is more correct.[/COLOR]
    Not really:

    http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/non-practicing-entity-NPE

    "Patent trolls amass large numbers of patents with the intention of launching patent infringement suits against companies and individuals that they maintain have illegally used some element of something for which they hold the patent."

    WARF does not meet this definition.
  • Reply 15 of 28
    Let me get this straight...

    A Wisconsin Federal Court ordered Apple to pay a State University in "Wisconsin"?
  • Reply 16 of 28
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,258member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Vampicide View Post

     

    Weren't company's using this type of stuff in the 80's? Win for the patent trolls. 




    Well as they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. The idea of skinning a cat may have been around for a long time. But if you come up with a new, unique, and novel way to skin a cat you can patent it and prevent others from infringing on your cat skinning patent. Make them come up with their own method.

     

    Just because "this type of stuff" has been around for a long time doesn't mean someone can't come up with a perfectly patentable new method for executing on the idea. One problem with so many patents these days is that they are for the idea, not the execution on the idea, which leads to overly broad patents and all these ridiculous patent lawsuits.

     

    If the university's patent is for a unique and novel new way to implement the predictive circuit idea, the patent is likely valid.

  • Reply 17 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tmay View Post

     

    Not saying that anything will happen with the invalidity claim, but Apple will almost certainly appeal the judgement.

     

    Interesting that U of W is asking $2.74 per unit whereas Intel paid $0.07 per unit for licensing; that't a pretty steep difference. 

     

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-14/university-seeking-400-million-from-apple-in-patent-dispute.

     

    Certainly, the P.A. Semi crew would have been aware of any possible infringement; not sure how this would have slipped by Apple legal.

     

    I expect that it will end with a negotiated settlement at a lower rate, but if not, Apple can afford it.

     

    EDIT:

     

    I just happened to come upon this;

     

    http://venturebeat.com/2015/10/16/intel-has-1000-people-working-on-chips-for-the-iphone/

     

    This would be a modem chip, likely targeted at the iPhone 7.




    I say appeal it.

  • Reply 18 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Vampicide View Post



    Weren't company's using this type of stuff in the 80's? Win for the patent trolls. 


    The more correct term is "Non Practicing Entity". A University, as John Gruber explains, conducts research, not make commercial products, which is what WARF does with its patent royalties - conduct research that is.



    No. 'Technically' they 'are' a Non Practicing Entity. But the term "Patent Troll" is the term that is more correct.


    I never thought WARF was a troll, rather a Klingon.

  • Reply 19 of 28
    idrey wrote: »
    Can Apple appeal this? I hope they do. Didn't they say
    This was a nonprofit patent? So much for that!
    And if Apple has to pay, can they use ?Pay?

    Obviously, Apple will appeal. Maybe if they slashed the requested license by 1/10th Apple would jump on it.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,540member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Austimo3000 View Post



    Let me get this straight...



    A Wisconsin Federal Court ordered Apple to pay a State University in "Wisconsin"?



    It must be corruption because they both have Wisconsin in the name¡

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