Caltech sues Apple & Broadcom over alleged Wi-Fi patent infringements

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in General Discussion
Apple and one of its long-time Wi-Fi chip suppliers, Broadcom, violated several patents on Wi-Fi technology owned by the California Institute of Technology, according to a lawsuit launched this month.




iPhones, iPads, Macs, the Apple Watch and various other Apple devices violate four patents related to IRA/LDPC encoding and decoding technology, Caltech said in a complaint with the U.S. District Court for Central California highlighted by Patently Apple. Apple and Broadcom are "jointly and severally liable for infringement," the case alleges.

As is usual in patent lawsuits, Caltech is requesting a jury trial along with injunctions against infringing products, which would block the sales of devices as recent as the iPhone 6s and iPad Pro, along with older models.

In terms of damages, the organization is asking simply for "adequate" compensation along with any additional relief the court might feel necessary. Caltech did not target a specific dollar value.

It's not clear whether the suit has any link to Apple's AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule routers being pulled from shelves. More likely is that the company is working to comply with a June 2 deadline for FCC rules phased in since 2014. Apple hasn't updated the products' hardware since 2013.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    runbuhrunbuh Posts: 315member
    Sorta like getting sued by NASA.   Oh wait...

  • Reply 2 of 31
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,718member
    Time for the CA franchise tax board to investigate CalTech to make sure they're paying all their taxes on income. If they're getting some kind of educational exemption, I could see that closing real quick.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,627member
    One question only.  Why now all of a sudden?
    magman1979baconstang
  • Reply 4 of 31
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 406member
    ok, someone explain to me why Apple is a defendant in this lawsuit, given that it basically just buys the wifi chip from Broadcomm???  CalTech can certainly prevent Broadcomm from producing illegal goods, but why should Apple be punished for Broadcomm's patent infringement (if, indeed, it infringed)?
    icoco3stevehbadmonk
  • Reply 5 of 31
    revenantrevenant Posts: 621member
    i understand that apple is using broadcomm but are other companies not using it? 

    are other companies licensing with caltec when they use broadcomm chips?
  • Reply 6 of 31
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    tjwolf said:
    ok, someone explain to me why Apple is a defendant in this lawsuit, given that it basically just buys the wifi chip from Broadcomm???  CalTech can certainly prevent Broadcomm from producing illegal goods, but why should Apple be punished for Broadcomm's patent infringement (if, indeed, it infringed)?
    Because when you sue, you are 99.9% of the time suing for damages. You want to include as many monied parties as possible in your suit.
    mike1badmonk
  • Reply 7 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,627member
    tjwolf said:
    ok, someone explain to me why Apple is a defendant in this lawsuit, given that it basically just buys the wifi chip from Broadcomm???  CalTech can certainly prevent Broadcomm from producing illegal goods, but why should Apple be punished for Broadcomm's patent infringement (if, indeed, it infringed)?

    Because Apple has more money than Broadcom?
    SpamSandwichicoco3mike1badmonk
  • Reply 8 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,627member

    revenant said:
    i understand that apple is using broadcomm but are other companies not using it? 

    are other companies licensing with caltec when they use broadcomm chips?

    Get with the program will you. Only Apple infringes and gets sued. Everybody else is made of unicorns and rainbows.
    edited May 2016 latifbpbadmonk
  • Reply 9 of 31
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,291member
    Meanwhile in some countries, other companies (X and S for example) busy scrapping and stealing anything from Apple as if it's a free buffet, while still being commended by some posters here as: 'great artist'.
    edited May 2016 badmonk
  • Reply 10 of 31
    Other Broadcom customers include Samsung, LG, HTC, HP, Sharp, Nokia, Tata Sky and... Google. It will be interesting to learn if these companies will be sued as well or if they will be let off the hook. If they are let off the hook, why? Are the companies licensing technology from Broadcom and CalTech while Apple is just licensing technology from Broadcom? This pursuit of Apple reminds me of Samsung's strategy to sue Apple for using its technology in a chipset Intel had licensed from Samsung. Every court in the United States that Apple presented its case decided Apple should have had a license from Samsung even though the Samsung/Intel license agreement authorized Intel to resell the technology included in the chipset. No other company that also used the Intel chipset was required to have two licenses. It took the President of the United States to veto an import ban on Apple's product.
    badmonk
  • Reply 11 of 31
    Just move the Apple Headquarters to Nevada on the other side of the State will you!

    Let's see what California is going to do with lost tax revenue.
  • Reply 12 of 31
    yuck9yuck9 Posts: 112member
    Apple and one of its long-time Wi-Fi chip suppliers, Broadcom, violated several patents on Wi-Fi technology owned by the California Institute of Technology, according to a lawsuit launched this month.




    iPhones, iPads, Macs, the Apple Watch and various other Apple devices violate four patents related to IRA/LDPC encoding and decoding technology, Caltech said in a complaint with the U.S. District Court for Central California highlighted by Patently Apple. Apple and Broadcom are "jointly and severally liable for infringement," the case alleges.

    As is usual in patent lawsuits, Caltech is requesting a jury trial along with injunctions against infringing products, which would block the sales of devices as recent as the iPhone 6s and iPad Pro, along with older models.

    In terms of damages, the organization is asking simply for "adequate" compensation along with any additional relief the court might feel necessary. Caltech did not target a specific dollar value.

    It's not clear whether the suit has any link to Apple's AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule routers being pulled from shelves. More likely is that the company is working to comply with a June 2 deadline for FCC rules phased in since 2014. Apple hasn't updated the products' hardware since 2013.
    I know it's coming. Apple should just buy CalTech. LOL
  • Reply 13 of 31
    curt12curt12 Posts: 41member
    lkrupp said:

    revenant said:
    i understand that apple is using broadcomm but are other companies not using it? 

    are other companies licensing with caltec when they use broadcomm chips?

    Get with the program will you. Only Apple infringes and gets sued. Everybody else is made of unicorns and rainbows.
    Indeed, the same reason Apple went after Samsung and not e.g. LG!
  • Reply 14 of 31
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,682member
    Wait so the CalTech Patent was incorporated into the wifi-standard according to patently Apple.
    This makes me more confused. I thought if a company wanted their patented technology included a standard then they had to add the patent to a pool so users of the standard had one known license fee?
    airbubble
  • Reply 15 of 31
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,300member
    mattinoz said:
    Wait so the CalTech Patent was incorporated into the wifi-standard according to patently Apple.
    This makes me more confused. I thought if a company wanted their patented technology included a standard then they had to add the patent to a pool so users of the standard had one known license fee?
    No there's not a requirement that your patent that applies to a standard has to be included in a pool with others.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 16 of 31
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,682member
    gatorguy said:
    mattinoz said:
    Wait so the CalTech Patent was incorporated into the wifi-standard according to patently Apple.
    This makes me more confused. I thought if a company wanted their patented technology included a standard then they had to add the patent to a pool so users of the standard had one known license fee?
    No there's not a requirement that your patent that applies to a standard has to be included in a pool with others.
    Then how does any company reliably implement the standard?
    Sounds like it's just a fingers crossed exercise that your not going to get hit by some company pulling a patent out the bottom drawer once things take off.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    anomeanome Posts: 1,465member

    Sounds like it might have been a failure of the standards board. If the patents are a necessary part of the standard, then surely any licensing requirement, whether for a pool or individual patents, should have been made clear.

    Of course, if they did and Broadcomm and/or Apple failed to pay it, then fair enough.

    I'm a big supporter of public institutions being rewarded for their innovation. If someone failed to pay a licensing fee for a patent, then the patent holder deserves to be compensated. (We'll leave aside the issue of non-practising entities, and patent hoarders for the moment.)

  • Reply 18 of 31
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,402moderator
    tjwolf said:
    ok, someone explain to me why Apple is a defendant in this lawsuit, given that it basically just buys the wifi chip from Broadcomm???  CalTech can certainly prevent Broadcomm from producing illegal goods, but why should Apple be punished for Broadcomm's patent infringement (if, indeed, it infringed)?

    ---

    One thing that's never mentioned in these articles is the issue of indemnification.  It wouldn't be a stretch that a company like Apple has an indemnification clause in their contracts with suppliers, such that if Apple gets sued for indirect infringement (meaning the patent infringing tech is entirely within the supplier's product), then the supplier would be responsible for covering costs of defense and any penalties levied upon Apple's use of the patent infringing tech.

    However, it's another thing if Apple, or any product company, expresses technology within a suppliers product (chip) in a way that infringes a patent and the suppliers product on its own does not express the tech in such a manner.  In that case it would all be on Apple.  But the fact both are named in the lawsuit suggests to me that the patent infringement, if such exists, is expressed entirely within Broadcom's chips.  Sue both and let them sort it out between them whether one compensates the other.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 19 of 31
    williamlondonwilliamlondon Posts: 1,013member
    anome said:

    I'm a big supporter of public institutions being rewarded for their innovation. If someone failed to pay a licensing fee for a patent, then the patent holder deserves to be compensated.

    Yeah, and fuck pure research from now on, right?! Only research that has an opportunity to pay off big in the future from now on, no more "pie in the sky" or undirected research, only research that pays will be funded going forward, and other investment will be put into patent protection departments and lawsuits.

    "Hooyah," said all the lawyers.
  • Reply 20 of 31
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    lkrupp said:
    One question only.  Why now all of a sudden?
    How do you know it is all of a sudden?

    They have probably been in negotiations with Apple for years trying to get them to pay a license.  Ericsson spent two years negotiating with Apple before they finally took them to court and we heard about it.
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