WARF fails to convince Supreme Court to reinstate $506M award from Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 7
The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an attempt by the University of Wisconsin's Patent licensing arm to try and reverse an appeal from Apple that overturned a $506 million patent infringement ruling, with the court electing not to listen to Wisconsin's arguments.

The A13 Bionic, Apple's latest A-series chip used in the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
The A13 Bionic, Apple's latest A-series chip used in the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max


On the first day of a new term, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a decision by the U.S. Federal Appeals Court to dismiss a patent infringement damages award in 2018, one that was first awarded to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation in 2017. In not hearing the plea, as reported by Reuters, the suit effectively ends with WARF missing out on its damages payment.

The lawsuit started in 2014, where WARF alleged Apple infringed a 1998 "predictor circuit" patent in the A7, A8, and A8X processors, as used in the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and Plus, and a number of iPad models. Specifically the violation relates to speculative processing, where the circuit executes instructions it is expecting based on previous instructions given to the processor.

Apple disputed the claim, arguing the chips worked differently than the language of the patent itself.

A 2015 federal jury ordered Apple to pay $234 million in damages in 2015, later upgraded in 2017 to $506.1 million by a judge for Apple continuing to infringe through to the December 2016 expiration of the patent, but Apple called the ruling "fraught with error" and with "prejudicially inflated" damages.

Apple then successfully convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn the jury decision based on the "plain and ordinary" meaning of the patent, deeming Apple could not have infringed upon it. This led to WARF staging a further appeal to the Supreme Court, on the basis the Federal Circuit incorrectly ignored how the jury understood the patent, along with a request to bounce the case back to the lower court to admit more evidence, an attempt that ultimately failed.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,577member
    It feels wrong that Universities are fighting for patents in law courts. Seems like a lot of wasted money that belongs elsewhere, say education? I can't quite come to terms with that.
    mac_dog
  • Reply 2 of 18
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 677member
    It feels wrong that Universities are fighting for patents in law courts. Seems like a lot of wasted money that belongs elsewhere, say education? I can't quite come to terms with that.
    Not defending the douchebags there but the winnings from such a lawsuit (if they win)would go far to support education.They probably have a lot of lawyers on the faculty and law students to support these efforts at reasonably cost and potentially as part of a law school education.

    I'd like to know how much the federal and state governments are supporting the school and how the royalties from patents might go back to the tax payer.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,103member
    I agree with the verdict but people need to understand that colleges and universities are doing a tremendous amount of research and a lot of that research ends up going to the private sector with no renumeration to the university. It's the same thing with US government research into drugs and medicines. Taxpayers fund this work yet pharmaceutical companies are allowed to patent the work so we, the taxpayer end up paying twice. This has nothing to do with a liberal or conservative university, it all has to do with a broken patent system. The problem with the WARF patents is that they patented processes instead of tangible "things" and some of those processes are "plain and ordinary" as the US Court of Appeals stated.

    It's like someone trying to get a trademark for "Taco Tuesday" when it's used all over the country.
    randominternetpersonStrangeDaysronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,047member
    rob53 said:
    I agree with the verdict but people need to understand that colleges and universities are doing a tremendous amount of research and a lot of that research ends up going to the private sector with no renumeration to the university. It's the same thing with US government research into drugs and medicines. Taxpayers fund this work yet pharmaceutical companies are allowed to patent the work so we, the taxpayer end up paying twice. This has nothing to do with a liberal or conservative university, it all has to do with a broken patent system. The problem with the WARF patents is that they patented processes instead of tangible "things" and some of those processes are "plain and ordinary" as the US Court of Appeals stated.

    It's like someone trying to get a trademark for "Taco Tuesday" when it's used all over the country.
    This is not how universities got funded. A lot of universities got donations from successful alumni and private companies. They do this because they think the universities deserve it. This is after careful thinking of the donors. This is a very effective way of judging the quality of a university than through plan taxes. 
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Universities should not be allowed to file patents. It goes against the basic purpose of institutes of learning: The open sharing of knowledge.
    netroxhydrogenjbdragontht
  • Reply 6 of 18
    tomahawktomahawk Posts: 159member
    It feels wrong that Universities are fighting for patents in law courts. Seems like a lot of wasted money that belongs elsewhere, say education? I can't quite come to terms with that.
    The profits from those patents go back into the university as funding for education and additional research.  Since the inception of WARF (the group at the UW) it has provided over $2.3 billion in direct grants back to the UW.

    Since Wisconsin (and a number of other states) were routinely cutting funding to their universities it would make sense that those schools would lean more heavily on any other available funding stream...
    ronnFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 7 of 18
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 677member
    rob53 said:
    I agree with the verdict but people need to understand that colleges and universities are doing a tremendous amount of research and a lot of that research ends up going to the private sector with no renumeration to the university. It's the same thing with US government research into drugs and medicines. Taxpayers fund this work yet pharmaceutical companies are allowed to patent the work so we, the taxpayer end up paying twice. This has nothing to do with a liberal or conservative university, it all has to do with a broken patent system. The problem with the WARF patents is that they patented processes instead of tangible "things" and some of those processes are "plain and ordinary" as the US Court of Appeals stated.

    It's like someone trying to get a trademark for "Taco Tuesday" when it's used all over the country.
    I don't think you are correct about this.  An old friend of mine (over 30 years) works for NIH to ensure that patents developed with government funding are correctly attributed.  I think it's explained here.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,103member
    tzeshan said:
    rob53 said:
    I agree with the verdict but people need to understand that colleges and universities are doing a tremendous amount of research and a lot of that research ends up going to the private sector with no renumeration to the university. It's the same thing with US government research into drugs and medicines. Taxpayers fund this work yet pharmaceutical companies are allowed to patent the work so we, the taxpayer end up paying twice. This has nothing to do with a liberal or conservative university, it all has to do with a broken patent system. The problem with the WARF patents is that they patented processes instead of tangible "things" and some of those processes are "plain and ordinary" as the US Court of Appeals stated.

    It's like someone trying to get a trademark for "Taco Tuesday" when it's used all over the country.
    This is not how universities got funded. A lot of universities got donations from successful alumni and private companies. They do this because they think the universities deserve it. This is after careful thinking of the donors. This is a very effective way of judging the quality of a university than through plan taxes. 
    "Private companies" can and do include federal grants and cooperative research agreements. I know this for a fact. Private universities are funded mainly by the excessive tuition students have to pay. Public universities are funded by state and (maybe) federal funding but also by alumni donations and private companies who demand access to usually free student research thereby making money for the private company instead of the student or the university. 

    As for those people who think students and universities shouldn't receive any patents, you're probably the same ones who feel NCAA athletes should only receive a scholarship instead of a piece of the billions of dollars the university and donors make.
    ronn
  • Reply 9 of 18
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,103member
    williamh said:
    rob53 said:
    I agree with the verdict but people need to understand that colleges and universities are doing a tremendous amount of research and a lot of that research ends up going to the private sector with no renumeration to the university. It's the same thing with US government research into drugs and medicines. Taxpayers fund this work yet pharmaceutical companies are allowed to patent the work so we, the taxpayer end up paying twice. This has nothing to do with a liberal or conservative university, it all has to do with a broken patent system. The problem with the WARF patents is that they patented processes instead of tangible "things" and some of those processes are "plain and ordinary" as the US Court of Appeals stated.

    It's like someone trying to get a trademark for "Taco Tuesday" when it's used all over the country.
    I don't think you are correct about this.  An old friend of mine (over 30 years) works for NIH to ensure that patents developed with government funding are correctly attributed.  I think it's explained here.
    That's fine but check this out, https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpearl/2017/01/19/why-patent-protection-in-the-drug-industry-is-out-of-control/#5d49a1a978ca

    Seems to me NIH isn't able to police the abuse of its own policies giving drug company exclusive rights to drugs developed with taxpayer money.
    ronn
  • Reply 10 of 18
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 763member
    Universities should not be allowed to file patents. It goes against the basic purpose of institutes of learning: The open sharing of knowledge.
    I agree. A publicly funded institution should make all of its research available to the public. If you are a company that funds research at a University, you should do so with the understanding that the basic science, how to make a processor more efficient or what gene is connected with a particular disease, will be public.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 18
    tomahawktomahawk Posts: 159member
    DAalseth said:
    Universities should not be allowed to file patents. It goes against the basic purpose of institutes of learning: The open sharing of knowledge.
    I agree. A publicly funded institution should make all of its research available to the public. If you are a company that funds research at a University, you should do so with the understanding that the basic science, how to make a processor more efficient or what gene is connected with a particular disease, will be public.
    Then the public needs to actually fund the university.  Public funding for most universities has dropped significantly over the years. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/most-americans-dont-realize-state-funding-for-higher-ed-fell-by-billions
    ronnFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 12 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,787member
    rob53 said:
    tzeshan said:
    rob53 said:
    I agree with the verdict but people need to understand that colleges and universities are doing a tremendous amount of research and a lot of that research ends up going to the private sector with no renumeration to the university. It's the same thing with US government research into drugs and medicines. Taxpayers fund this work yet pharmaceutical companies are allowed to patent the work so we, the taxpayer end up paying twice. This has nothing to do with a liberal or conservative university, it all has to do with a broken patent system. The problem with the WARF patents is that they patented processes instead of tangible "things" and some of those processes are "plain and ordinary" as the US Court of Appeals stated.

    It's like someone trying to get a trademark for "Taco Tuesday" when it's used all over the country.
    This is not how universities got funded. A lot of universities got donations from successful alumni and private companies. They do this because they think the universities deserve it. This is after careful thinking of the donors. This is a very effective way of judging the quality of a university than through plan taxes. 
    "Private companies" can and do include federal grants and cooperative research agreements. I know this for a fact. Private universities are funded mainly by the excessive tuition students have to pay. Public universities are funded by state and (maybe) federal funding but also by alumni donations and private companies who demand access to usually free student research thereby making money for the private company instead of the student or the university. 

    As for those people who think students and universities shouldn't receive any patents, you're probably the same ones who feel NCAA athletes should only receive a scholarship instead of a piece of the billions of dollars the university and donors make.
    Entirely different topic. There is a good argument that students athletes are students, not professionals, and shouldn’t get into the game of being paid beyond their tuition which will change everyone once money is on the line (example: steroids follow any sport where money is on the line), making it unfair to other athletes. University is a place for learning, not professional athletes. Put ‘em in a pro league if they want to be paid. Yes the university gets the broadcast rights revenue, but “it’s their platform” as we say. Tho instead of going to the athletic department and the obscene coach salaries, it should go back into the university’s general fund IMO. Universities exist to drive education and learning, not make coaches and athletes rich. 
  • Reply 13 of 18
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 763member
    tomahawk said:
    DAalseth said:
    Universities should not be allowed to file patents. It goes against the basic purpose of institutes of learning: The open sharing of knowledge.
    I agree. A publicly funded institution should make all of its research available to the public. If you are a company that funds research at a University, you should do so with the understanding that the basic science, how to make a processor more efficient or what gene is connected with a particular disease, will be public.
    Then the public needs to actually fund the university.  Public funding for most universities has dropped significantly over the years. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/most-americans-dont-realize-state-funding-for-higher-ed-fell-by-billions
    Very true.  Another thing us Baby Bookers f-ed up.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,495member
    Hopefully they didn’t buy Ferrari’s when it looked like they had won
  • Reply 15 of 18
    flydogflydog Posts: 354member
    It feels wrong that Universities are fighting for patents in law courts. Seems like a lot of wasted money that belongs elsewhere, say education? I can't quite come to terms with that.
    In the future you may want to learn some basic facts before rendering dumb opinions. UW's licensing of IP provides hundreds of millions of dollars per year for education and other university programs. 

    https://research.wisc.edu/intellectual-property/royalty-income-sharing/
  • Reply 16 of 18
    flydogflydog Posts: 354member

    DAalseth said:
    Universities should not be allowed to file patents. It goes against the basic purpose of institutes of learning: The open sharing of knowledge.
    I agree. A publicly funded institution should make all of its research available to the public. If you are a company that funds research at a University, you should do so with the understanding that the basic science, how to make a processor more efficient or what gene is connected with a particular disease, will be public.
    Another brainless opinion. The research that leads to the patents that UW licenses are not funded by companies. They are for the most part the product of students, faculty, and researchers who receive grants from the University to perform their work.

    Moreover, freely distributing IP would provide zero benefits to UW, its students, and the community that supports UW. To the contrary, it would result in higher tuition and less funds available for research. 
  • Reply 17 of 18
    flydog said:

    DAalseth said:
    Universities should not be allowed to file patents. It goes against the basic purpose of institutes of learning: The open sharing of knowledge.
    I agree. A publicly funded institution should make all of its research available to the public. If you are a company that funds research at a University, you should do so with the understanding that the basic science, how to make a processor more efficient or what gene is connected with a particular disease, will be public.
    Another brainless opinion. The research that leads to the patents that UW licenses are not funded by companies. They are for the most part the product of students, faculty, and researchers who receive grants from the University to perform their work.
    You see I worked for ten years at a major, Big 10 research University. I did IT support for The Controllers Office. Next to my office was the Office of Patents and Licensing. Some of their job involved the results of publicly funded pure research, but most of it was cooperative projects with private companies. They made sure the U got their cut from any products. Those were funded by private, corporate funds. 

    One of the departments I maintained was the Office Of Research and Technology Transfer Administration. They for the most part oversaw grants and grant proposals. They managed money coming into the U. Some was NIH and NSF, and such. The overwhelming majority was from private industry.

    Prior to that I spent a couple of years doing Administrative and IT work in a department. We had several faculty members whose whole income was from grants. Private research grants for corporations. they would not have been able to stay at the U without them. 

    For seven years prior to that I worked for a company started by a couple of Professors. They developed some devices, patented them personally, and then started the company on the side. Nothing went back to the U. 

    So don’t tell me that most money for University research is public money. Because I know for a gold plated rock solid fact it isn’t. The UW is much like the University I worked for, and like the rest of the top end American Universities. 

    flydog said:

    Moreover, freely distributing IP would provide zero benefits to UW, its students, and the community that supports UW. To the contrary, it would result in higher tuition and less funds available for research. 
    The whole point of a University is that it is a place of learning for everyone and research for everyone. Nothing done there should be locked behind a paywall, a patent, or a copywrite. The University, academia at all levels should be 100% publicly supported and everything made agailable to everyone. That is was the point of Universities, at least before my generation decided they needed to be profit centres.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 18 of 18
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,148moderator
    DAalseth said:
    flydog said:

    DAalseth said:
    Universities should not be allowed to file patents. It goes against the basic purpose of institutes of learning: The open sharing of knowledge.
    I agree. A publicly funded institution should make all of its research available to the public. If you are a company that funds research at a University, you should do so with the understanding that the basic science, how to make a processor more efficient or what gene is connected with a particular disease, will be public.
    Another brainless opinion. The research that leads to the patents that UW licenses are not funded by companies. They are for the most part the product of students, faculty, and researchers who receive grants from the University to perform their work.
    You see I worked for ten years at a major, Big 10 research University. I did IT support for The Controllers Office. Next to my office was the Office of Patents and Licensing. Some of their job involved the results of publicly funded pure research, but most of it was cooperative projects with private companies. They made sure the U got their cut from any products. Those were funded by private, corporate funds. 

    One of the departments I maintained was the Office Of Research and Technology Transfer Administration. They for the most part oversaw grants and grant proposals. They managed money coming into the U. Some was NIH and NSF, and such. The overwhelming majority was from private industry.

    Prior to that I spent a couple of years doing Administrative and IT work in a department. We had several faculty members whose whole income was from grants. Private research grants for corporations. they would not have been able to stay at the U without them. 

    For seven years prior to that I worked for a company started by a couple of Professors. They developed some devices, patented them personally, and then started the company on the side. Nothing went back to the U. 

    So don’t tell me that most money for University research is public money. Because I know for a gold plated rock solid fact it isn’t. The UW is much like the University I worked for, and like the rest of the top end American Universities. 

    flydog said:

    Moreover, freely distributing IP would provide zero benefits to UW, its students, and the community that supports UW. To the contrary, it would result in higher tuition and less funds available for research. 
    The whole point of a University is that it is a place of learning for everyone and research for everyone. Nothing done there should be locked behind a paywall, a patent, or a copywrite. The University, academia at all levels should be 100% publicly supported and everything made agailable to everyone. That is was the point of Universities, at least before my generation decided they needed to be profit centres.
    So all the work of American universities should be freely available to China, Russia, the EU, patent free?  I hardly see how this would incentivize pouring money into research.  Fact is, some entity should hold rights (patents, copyrights, trademarks) on anything of value derived from the work, and the university is as good a choice as any I can think of.  
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