Apple has been ordered to pay significant damages after a US jury found that it used
technology owned by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in its chips without permission.
The tech giant will pay WARF US$234m in damages after a two-week trial for the patent infringement, which relates to a 1998 processor efficiency patent.
The sum awarded is significantly lower than the initial estimates from the judge dealing with the case, who said Apple could be forced to pay up to $862m.
The US tech giant has said it plans to appeal the decision, declining any further comment. Apple has strenuously denied that its products breach the patent, which was previously used by WARF to sue Intel.
Michael Falk, WARF General Counsel, said: ‘The University of Wisconsin (UW) has a long history of creative innovation across many fields. WARF invests in patenting UW inventions for the benefit of the UW and the public. It is a serious matter for us to undertake litigation to protect the UW's patented inventions. It is important to faculty and to the UW that patented, innovative technologies developed on campus are protected from unauthorised use.
‘This is a case where the hard work of our university researchers and the integrity of patenting and licensing discoveries has prevailed. The jury recognised the seminal computer processing work that took place on our campus. This decision is great news for the inventors, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and for WARF.
‘Although patent verdicts like this one are typically appealed, we hope to continue to work with Apple to resolve this matter and build a stronger relationship between our two institutions.’
The Research Foundation first sued the Californian manufacturer in January 2014. The action relates to Apple’s A7, A8 and A8X processors, which are found in the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, as well as a number of iPads.
WARF is also pursuing legal action against Apple regarding technology on the latest chips – the A9 and A9X – which feature in the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus and iPad Pro.