MILWAUKEE – A federal judge has ruled that Apple Inc. must pay $506 million for infringing on a patent owned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s research foundation – double the amount a jury awarded nearly two years ago to include ongoing royalties for Apple products sold with the patented technology.
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation sued Apple in 2014, saying the processors in some of its devices infringed on a patent obtained in 1998 by a UW-Madison computer science professor and three of his students.
A jury ruled in favor of WARF – the independent patenting and licensing foundation for UW-Madison research – in October 2015, tossing aside Apple’s claim that the patent was invalid and finding that Apple infringed the patent when it rolled out its 2013 and 2014 iPhone and iPad lineups.
U.S. District Judge William Conley, who presided over the 2015 jury trial, said in his ruling this week in Madison, Wis., that Apple continued to infringe on the UW patent after the jury’s verdict, until the patent expired in December 2016. He added $272 million in supplemental damages to the jury’s $234 million verdict, including compounded interest and $841,587.66 in court-related costs.
Conley figured supplemental damages at a rate of $1.61 per “infringing unit” sold with the processors prior to the jury’s judgment, and ongoing royalties at a rate of $2.74 per unit after the judgment, through the patent’s expiration on Dec. 26, 2016.
The damages awarded to WARF now total $506,084,992.66.
Apple already has filed a notice to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals a ruling Conley issued against it last month on post-trial motions challenging virtually every aspect of the jury’s verdict and myriad decisions made both before and during the trial.
WARF challenged the jury’s finding that it had failed to prove that Apple’s patent infringement was “willful.” Conley agreed with the jury that WARF failed to prove willful infringement.
“WARF will continue to defend the work of the university researchers and WARF’s patent in this case, should Apple, Inc. file an appeal,” WARF said in a statement Thursday morning.
WARF’s statement said the foundation does not typically comment on litigation and doesn’t plan to comment further on details associated with the case until the matter is fully reviewed and resolved in court.
The patent at the center of the lawsuit, held by UW-Madison professor Gurindar Sohi and three students, was obtained in 1998 to cover a method for executing instructions in a microprocessor out of order so that tasks could be performed faster and more efficiently.
WARF also filed a lawsuit again Intel Corp. in 2008 over the same patent. That case was settled in 2009.
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