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Appeals court throws out ruling that awarded WARF $234M in patent damages from Apple

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 3rd, 2018

Tech giant Apple has persuaded a federal appeals court to throw out a 2015 jury decision that ordered the company to pay $234 million to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) over alleged patent infringement.

WARF, the tech transfer arm of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, originally claimed that Apple violated a patent that the foundation was granted in 1998 involving a microprocessor technology. According to WARF, Apple wrongly implemented the technology in some older iPhones and iPads. In 2015, a federal jury sided with WARF and demanded Apple pay the foundation $234 million in damages – one of the largest infringement awards ever won by a university. 

In June 2017, Apple attempted to reverse the jury’s findings, but US District Judge William Conley denied the bid and increased the award to $506M, claiming that Apple had not stopped infringing on the patent after the 2015 ruling.

In a recent decision, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned the original award, ruling that “no reasonable juror could have found literal infringement” based on evidence presented at the 2015 trial. The decision follows a brief filed last October by lawyers for Apple, who argued that WARF “relied on legally impermissible evidence that prejudicially inflated” the amount the jury ordered Apple to pay WARF in 2015.

The additional $272 million imposed by Conley would appear to also be lost to WARF since the underlying judgment has been reversed. A spokesperson for the foundation said it is reviewing the appeals court’s decision.

Still pending is a separate lawsuit WARF filed against Apple over chips it uses in the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPad Pro. Those models had not yet become commercially available when WARF first sued Apple the previous year, and Conley had deferred making a ruling in the case while the earlier appeal was still awaiting a Fed Circuit decision.

Source: Xconomy

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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