Wisconsin court orders Apple pay $506M for infringing on WARF patent

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2017
A U.S. district court judge on Monday ruled Apple must pay $506 million in damages for infringing on a microprocessor technology IP owned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's patent licensing body, adding $272 million to an initial $234 decision reached almost two years ago.




The fine levied by U.S. District Judge William Conley more than doubles damages imposed on Apple by a federal jury in October 2015, reports Reuters.

Apple's A-series CPUs, specifically the A7, A8 and A8X system-on-chip designs, were found to have infringed on a 1998 computer microarchitecture patent owned by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The university's patent licensing arm initially sought $400 million from the tech giant.

Judge Conley in his determination said WARF is owed additional damages plus interest because Apple continued to use the patented technology without license until the IP expired in December 2016, the report said.

WARF first sued Apple in 2014 over alleged infringement of U.S. Patent No. U.S. 5,781,752 for a "Table based data speculation circuit for parallel processing computer." According to WARF and original patent claims, the IP provides a novel method of improving power efficiency and performance in modern computer processor designs using "predictor circuit" technology.

The university leveraged the same patent to force Intel into a settlement in 2008.

The original complaint against Apple claimed willful infringement, noting the company cited the '752 patent property in its own U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filings. Further, WARF claimed Apple refused requests to legally license the IP. The university branch later filed a separate lawsuit asserting the same patent against Apple's more recent A9 and A9X chips.

For its part, Apple denied infringement during court proceedings. The company also sought to mark the IP as invalid, and requested a PTO review of its validity, but the patent body declined to take such action.

Apple is appealing the 2015 jury verdict and subsequent damages finding. Conley will not hand down a ruling on the second WARF case against Apple until the company completes the appeals process, the report said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    davendaven Posts: 706member
    I guess Foxcon won't be building a factory in Wisconsin after all.
    StrangeDaysMisterKitradarthekatmagman1979netmagelolliverviclauyyc[Deleted User]watto_cobralkrupp
  • Reply 2 of 25
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    daven said:
    I guess Foxcon won't be building a factory in Wisconsin after all.
    No I think this is an example of Apple getting a little STUPID in their old age.   To sight a similar patent in you patent filing just seems to be inviting a lawsuit.   Apple basically said hey this is where the idea came from.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 25
    wizard69 said:
    daven said:
    I guess Foxcon won't be building a factory in Wisconsin after all.
    No I think this is an example of Apple getting a little STUPID in their old age.   To sight a similar patent in you patent filing just seems to be inviting a lawsuit.   Apple basically said hey this is where the idea came from.
    Right, because Apple is one monolithic mind.  Every word in every patent filing is reviewed by every executive and represents the unanimous opinion of the Apple hive mind.  Alternatively, this could have been a mistake by the patent attorneys working for Apple at that particular time.  Nah, it must be that Apple hive mind thing.  It's getting old and senile.  Dare I say, Apple is doomed, as a logical consequence? 
    StrangeDaysgregoriusmnetmagelolliverviclauyyc[Deleted User]watto_cobrawilliamlondonpscooter63ronn
  • Reply 4 of 25
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,936member
    wizard69 said:
    daven said:
    I guess Foxcon won't be building a factory in Wisconsin after all.
    No I think this is an example of Apple getting a little STUPID in their old age.   To sight a similar patent in you patent filing just seems to be inviting a lawsuit.   Apple basically said hey this is where the idea came from.
    Nope, that’s just a negative narrative. Apple isn’t stupid, they’re on top of the entire industry. Both in their bank account, and in the technology marvels they’re coming up with. 
    teknishnmagman1979lolliverwatto_cobrawilliamlondonanton zuykovpscooter63
  • Reply 5 of 25
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,867moderator
    wizard69 said:
    daven said:
    I guess Foxcon won't be building a factory in Wisconsin after all.
    No I think this is an example of Apple getting a little STUPID in their old age.   To sight a similar patent in you patent filing just seems to be inviting a lawsuit.   Apple basically said hey this is where the idea came from.
    Right, because Apple is one monolithic mind.  Every word in every patent filing is reviewed by every executive and represents the unanimous opinion of the Apple hive mind.  Alternatively, this could have been a mistake by the patent attorneys working for Apple at that particular time.  Nah, it must be that Apple hive mind thing.  It's getting old and senile.  Dare I say, Apple is doomed, as a logical consequence? 
    It suggests neither.  Related patents are always called out as prior art in patent filings.  The fact Apple was aware of WARF's work strengthens Apple's case of non-infringement, because it implies Apple had reviewed the prior art and would have made efforts in development of its own methods to avoid infringement.  Could it have inadvertently infringed regardless?  Sure.  But it wouldn't have infringed knowingly if aware of the prior art.  Also, a court's/jury's decisions on complex IP infringement can be a very subjective thing, depending upon the particular expertise, or lack thereof, on the part of those making the deliberation.  A judge might know patent law, but might not know all that's needed to make a valid determination regarding the specific art under review.  Apple is appealing, in the end they might have to pay, these things happen in the course of developing technology products.  Life will go on.
    SolinetmageEsquireCatsmwhiteemoellerviclauyyctransmasterkamiltonleavingthebiggpscooter63
  • Reply 6 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,038member
    wizard69 said:
    daven said:
    I guess Foxcon won't be building a factory in Wisconsin after all.
    No I think this is an example of Apple getting a little STUPID in their old age.   To sight a similar patent in you patent filing just seems to be inviting a lawsuit.   Apple basically said hey this is where the idea came from.
    Every patent I've seen refers to dozens of similar patents. Isn't that how you build up your case for a patent being unique, by saying that've looked at these patents and then argue why yours is different?
    edited July 2017 netmageradarthekatwatto_cobraRayz2016anton zuykovronn
  • Reply 7 of 25
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,268member
    The damages awarded are nothing more than comical. Exceedingly over valuing the patent, if truly infringing at all. Apple's knowledge of the patent is also not an indication of use, if anything this further cements that Apple understand the patent and don't believe they are in infringement. Citing numerous similar patents in patent disputes is common.
    transmasterwilliamlondonronn
  • Reply 8 of 25
    tshapitshapi Posts: 371member
    I suspect Apple factors law suits into its iPhone shrink costs. 
  • Reply 9 of 25
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,952member
    radarthekat said:
    But it wouldn't have infringed knowingly if aware of the prior art.
    Or, maybe it's just cheaper to fight it some and then pay the settlement? $500M is peanuts across several generations of iPhones, and might renovate some campus buildings.
    Soligatorguy
  • Reply 10 of 25
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,867moderator
    cgWerks said:
    radarthekat said:
    But it wouldn't have infringed knowingly if aware of the prior art.
    Or, maybe it's just cheaper to fight it some and then pay the settlement? $500M is peanuts across several generations of iPhones, and might renovate some campus buildings.
    That's always a possibility, if the patented method is by far the best means to the end available.  But in that case, a negotiated license might be a better way to go.  Saves on the intentional infringement penalties.
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 11 of 25
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 849member
    Should these patent lawsuits judge by relative experts? Sometimes it is super technical not something a layman or a judge can fully understand. I know they have expert witnesses but is it good enough to teach a normal person to understand something that complex?
    watto_cobraanton zuykov
  • Reply 12 of 25
    croprcropr Posts: 1,129member
    wizard69 said:
    daven said:
    I guess Foxcon won't be building a factory in Wisconsin after all.
    No I think this is an example of Apple getting a little STUPID in their old age.   To sight a similar patent in you patent filing just seems to be inviting a lawsuit.   Apple basically said hey this is where the idea came from.
    Right, because Apple is one monolithic mind.  Every word in every patent filing is reviewed by every executive and represents the unanimous opinion of the Apple hive mind.  Alternatively, this could have been a mistake by the patent attorneys working for Apple at that particular time.  Nah, it must be that Apple hive mind thing.  It's getting old and senile.  Dare I say, Apple is doomed, as a logical consequence? 
    It suggests neither.  Related patents are always called out as prior art in patent filings.  The fact Apple was aware of WARF's work strengthens Apple's case of non-infringement, because it implies Apple had reviewed the prior art and would have made efforts in development of its own methods to avoid infringement.  Could it have inadvertently infringed regardless?  Sure.  But it wouldn't have infringed knowingly if aware of the prior art.  Also, a court's/jury's decisions on complex IP infringement can be a very subjective thing, depending upon the particular expertise, or lack thereof, on the part of those making the deliberation.  A judge might know patent law, but might not know all that's needed to make a valid determination regarding the specific art under review.  Apple is appealing, in the end they might have to pay, these things happen in the course of developing technology products.  Life will go on.
    If I look at what has been written about this case, I totally disagree with you. For me Apple was just arrogant: "We know we are infringing, but hey we are Apple, who do you you are that you can sue us.  We can pay better lawyers, so stop whining."
    singularitywilliamlondoncloudmobile
  • Reply 13 of 25
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    cropr said:
    wizard69 said:
    daven said:
    I guess Foxcon won't be building a factory in Wisconsin after all.
    No I think this is an example of Apple getting a little STUPID in their old age.   To sight a similar patent in you patent filing just seems to be inviting a lawsuit.   Apple basically said hey this is where the idea came from.
    Right, because Apple is one monolithic mind.  Every word in every patent filing is reviewed by every executive and represents the unanimous opinion of the Apple hive mind.  Alternatively, this could have been a mistake by the patent attorneys working for Apple at that particular time.  Nah, it must be that Apple hive mind thing.  It's getting old and senile.  Dare I say, Apple is doomed, as a logical consequence? 
    It suggests neither.  Related patents are always called out as prior art in patent filings.  The fact Apple was aware of WARF's work strengthens Apple's case of non-infringement, because it implies Apple had reviewed the prior art and would have made efforts in development of its own methods to avoid infringement.  Could it have inadvertently infringed regardless?  Sure.  But it wouldn't have infringed knowingly if aware of the prior art.  Also, a court's/jury's decisions on complex IP infringement can be a very subjective thing, depending upon the particular expertise, or lack thereof, on the part of those making the deliberation.  A judge might know patent law, but might not know all that's needed to make a valid determination regarding the specific art under review.  Apple is appealing, in the end they might have to pay, these things happen in the course of developing technology products.  Life will go on.
    If I look at what has been written about this case, I totally disagree with you. For me Apple was just arrogant: "We know we are infringing, but hey we are Apple, who do you you are that you can sue us.  We can pay better lawyers, so stop whining."
    If you'd read a recipe for a lemon drizzle cake, you'd have reached exactly the same conclusion. 
    StrangeDaysnht
  • Reply 14 of 25
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    cropr said:
    wizard69 said:
    daven said:
    I guess Foxcon won't be building a factory in Wisconsin after all.
    No I think this is an example of Apple getting a little STUPID in their old age.   To sight a similar patent in you patent filing just seems to be inviting a lawsuit.   Apple basically said hey this is where the idea came from.
    Right, because Apple is one monolithic mind.  Every word in every patent filing is reviewed by every executive and represents the unanimous opinion of the Apple hive mind.  Alternatively, this could have been a mistake by the patent attorneys working for Apple at that particular time.  Nah, it must be that Apple hive mind thing.  It's getting old and senile.  Dare I say, Apple is doomed, as a logical consequence? 
    It suggests neither.  Related patents are always called out as prior art in patent filings.  The fact Apple was aware of WARF's work strengthens Apple's case of non-infringement, because it implies Apple had reviewed the prior art and would have made efforts in development of its own methods to avoid infringement.  Could it have inadvertently infringed regardless?  Sure.  But it wouldn't have infringed knowingly if aware of the prior art.  Also, a court's/jury's decisions on complex IP infringement can be a very subjective thing, depending upon the particular expertise, or lack thereof, on the part of those making the deliberation.  A judge might know patent law, but might not know all that's needed to make a valid determination regarding the specific art under review.  Apple is appealing, in the end they might have to pay, these things happen in the course of developing technology products.  Life will go on.
    If I look at what has been written about this case, I totally disagree with you. For me Apple was just arrogant: "We know we are infringing, but hey we are Apple, who do you you are that you can sue us.  We can pay better lawyers, so stop whining."
    We all look at things with our biased ideologies don't we. For you, apparently, Apple is a POS company that needs to be forced to disgorge its illegal profits. I guess it doesn't matter that many of the lawsuits like this one filed against Apple were also filed against other tech companies as well, like Intel. I guess it doesn't matter that patent law is so screwy as to be some kind of incomprehensible labyrinth. Yeah, that fits the narrative of all corporations being evil entities that exist only to exploit and repress. 
    ronnStrangeDays
  • Reply 15 of 25
    Stop. Please stop. For goodness sakes. Whenever Apple accuses someone of infringing their patents or abusing FRAND, everyone sides with Apple and wants the offender that Apple accuses crushed by paying huge licensing fees,  having their products banned from the market, and massive financial penalties and even driven out of business outright. But when someone accuses Apple they are always a patent troll, Apple is free and clear and innocent, or the amount that they are seeking from Apple way exceeds the value of the patent because it is how Apple incorporates everyone else into their tech that gives the IP value in the first place. Look, there is being a fan and being a fanboy.

    The same patent laws that applies to everyone else with Apple's IP applies to Apple with everyone else's IP. It is amazing: the same people who want Android banned despite a decades'-old Supreme Court ruling allowing one company to copy another company's UX/UI, a ruling that Apple has since taken advantage of themselves like everyone else. The same people who insist that Apple should have to pay pretty much pennies for critical hardware patents like ARM CPU designs and 2G/3G/4G designs without which smartphones and mobile tech in general wouldn't be practical AT ALL agreed with Apple's attempts to ban all Samsung products from the market - or pay a $50 per device licensing fee - over trade dress, rounded corners, icon shapes, home buttons and pinch-to-zoom.

    It is hilarious. How many people wanted Oracle to drive Android off the market over APIs that Sun allowed EVERYONE to freely use at the time - and which Google could have easily rewritten if they didn't - do not want Apple to pay practically anything over ARM designs and wireless standards?

    Here is the deal: Apple chose Wisconsin's designs over ARM Holdings' design. Qualcomm, Samsung, MediaTek and everyone else pay ARM Holdings, Inc. because the Snapdragon, Exynos etc. are based on the ARM Holdings base design. (In fact, Qualcomm had overheating issues with the Snapdragon 810 because they used an ARM Holdings design for the cores. When they used their own design that was derived from the ARM Holdings base design for the 820 the problem went away.) So your rationale for why Samsung and Qualcomm have to pay ARM Holdings but Apple doesn't have to pay the University of Wisconsin is what exactly?

    Finally, you mention that it was a Wisconsin court, as if that is all nefarious or something. The problem is that this actually HELPS the University's case. Why? Because were UW-Madison some troll filing a flimsy case, they would have filed the lawsuit in East Texas like all the actual trolls do. Instead of court-shopping, the University of Wisconsin actually filed their case in the appropriate jurisdiction: where they are located. Why? Because they knew that they would win based on the merits of the case. And this is why UW-Madison has won every appeal on this case.

    Apple will ride this out because it is cheaper to pay lawyers - who work for Apple and are on the payroll already for the most part - than it is to pay $1 billion. But they will pay eventually, just as Samsung paid Apple over rounded corners and icon placement eventually.
    muthuk_vanalingamSpamSandwichsingularitygatorguycommand_fcgWerks
  • Reply 16 of 25
    viclauyyc said:
    Should these patent lawsuits judge by relative experts? Sometimes it is super technical not something a layman or a judge can fully understand. I know they have expert witnesses but is it good enough to teach a normal person to understand something that complex?
    It isn't that complex at all.
    1. Apple incorporated the University of Wisconsin's designs in their own designs.
    2. The University of Wisconsin's designs are not not an open standard that can be used on CDDL, LGPL, Mozilla 2.0, Apache 2.0, BSD2, BSD3 or any of the other FOSS terms. We agree on that too right?
    3. Which means that if Apple was going to use the University of Wisconsin's IP in their designs they were going to have to pay the University of Wisconsin.

    If you want to use someone else's tech, or your own tech that is derived from someone else's tech, you have to pay the someone else for it unless the someone else gives it away. Apple doesn't have a leg to stand on, and the only reason why you disagree is because this is Apple and not Samsung, Google, Qualcomm or Microsoft we are talking about here. If you disagree, please name for me all of the Apple IP that Samsung, Google and everyone else should get to use for free. And don't be coy. Don't claim that Google should have to pay for Android. They don't because the Supreme Court said otherwise almost 25 years ago. And Samsung has long paid Apple over mostly cosmetic "your product looks too much like mine" issues - not over things that the product fundamentally needs to work in the first place - so that dog won't hunt either.

    Apple's only counterargument: we changed the original design, it became our design when we changed it so we don't have to pay for it anymore. Never mind that this argument has been shot down millions of times already. But if that is what you support then hey, I have an idea. Google is looking to design their custom chip for the next-gen smartphones, tablets and PCs that they are going to release running their Fuschia OS that they will launch in 2019 or 2020. (It will run Android and Chrome OS apps, but otherwise be entirely different from both, including not having a Linux kernel.) Here's an idea: how about they just use the A11 SOC? They could tweak it to accommodate the fact that Fuschia isn't a UNIX-like Darwin/BSD derivative and optimize it for the the Java JVM and their own Dart language instead of what Apple has done for Swift and Objective C and be off to the races, right? How many of you would be in favor of their doing that? While. Not. Paying. Apple. A. Dime. In. The. Process.?

    Exactly. I say that if Apple shouldn't have to pay UW-Madison for their old Ax designs, Google shouldn't have to pay Apple if they take the A11 and tweak it for their Android replacement. Agree? Disagree?

    afrodri
  • Reply 17 of 25
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    What makes this entire case interesting is the fact is a public university and not a patent troll firm. U Dub appears to be on the verge of upgrading the Badger football program. ;-)
    anton zuykov
  • Reply 18 of 25
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,056member
    daven said:
    I guess Foxcon won't be building a factory in Wisconsin after all.
    Don't know if they were planning on that or not. But they surely won't be planning that after all this...
  • Reply 19 of 25
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,983member
    At least UW is not a troll in that they invented it if not building with it. Would rather see the money go into the pocket of a research university than to a bunch of speculators. Thank god the IP has already expired so at least there's an end to it. 
    cgWerks
  • Reply 20 of 25
    farmboyfarmboy Posts: 152member
    viclauyyc said:
    Should these patent lawsuits judge by relative experts? Sometimes it is super technical not something a layman or a judge can fully understand. I know they have expert witnesses but is it good enough to teach a normal person to understand something that complex?
    It isn't that complex at all.
    1. Apple incorporated the University of Wisconsin's designs in their own designs.
    2. The University of Wisconsin's designs are not not an open standard that can be used on CDDL, LGPL, Mozilla 2.0, Apache 2.0, BSD2, BSD3 or any of the other FOSS terms. We agree on that too right?
    3. Which means that if Apple was going to use the University of Wisconsin's IP in their designs they were going to have to pay the University of Wisconsin.

    If you want to use someone else's tech, or your own tech that is derived from someone else's tech, you have to pay the someone else for it unless the someone else gives it away. Apple doesn't have a leg to stand on, and the only reason why you disagree is because this is Apple and not Samsung, Google, Qualcomm or Microsoft we are talking about here.
    Apple's only counterargument: we changed the original design, it became our design when we changed it so we don't have to pay for it anymore. Never mind that this argument has been shot down millions of times already. 

    Exactly. I say that if Apple shouldn't have to pay UW-Madison for their old Ax designs, Google shouldn't have to pay Apple if they take the A11 and tweak it for their Android replacement. Agree? Disagree?

    A lot of A + B therefore C assumptions that typically don't follow that path:

    1) Apple incorporated UW designs: Maybe, maybe not. This decision said yes, an appeals court may say otherwise.
    2) UW designs are not open standards: No kidding. First, there is no single definition of what makes an open standard, and second, they would usually have to be developed by consensus and due process among the stakeholders. UW tends to hold their IP very closely and manage it (license or sell) zealously. Did Apple claim they were open?
    3) Apple would thus have to pay UW: Does not follow if Apple can show that they did not actually infringe or that the patents or certain claims are invalid.

    "Apple's only counterargument...we changed design": No (and never underestimate the creativity of an IP attorney--all those EE degrees have to find an outlet). Simply changing a design that is based on someone else's IP doesn't get you a new patent or protect you from infringement. If UW built a bicycle --a unique frame, seat, handlebars, two wheels, crank and chain--someone else can't get a new patent simply by adding a v-belt instead of a chain to that design, for instance. If you build it using ideas in someone else's claims, you need their permission (license, assignment, etc.).

    "I say that if Apple shouldn't have to pay UW...": First, your assumption is that this judgement will stand. It's a long way to the end of the race. Second, Google could always just make the chip without IP protection, but if they were to make a patent application, they would have to show the ARM/Apple patents as prior art and then show how they don't infringe, and also because Bicycle Patent example above, and further because one infringement case will usually have almost nothing to do with another in terms of precedent. 

    Best guess: the parties will fight this for two more years and then settle out of court, for terms that will never be disclosed. Both sides claim victory, the world goes on.

    Toss-up question for the class: Is UW being a patent troll, since they are a non-practicing entity? Or if UW assigns the patent to the U Professorial Retirement Fund IT  department (UPROFIT) to help maintain retirees benefits and pensions, would that group be a patent troll if they try to license the patent? See, this stuff is not so easy out in the real world.
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