WARF Patents: Apple Sued for Patent Infringement

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In early October, a Wisconsin jury determined that Apple infringed U.S. Patent No. 5,781,752, which is owned by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). WARF is the patent-licensing organization associated with the University of Wisconsin. Because the jury found infringement, it will now turn to damages, which will be a maximum of $862.4 million. After the jury determines the damages amount, it will then determine willfulness, which might treble the damages award. A finding of willfulness would result in a potentially record-breaking award of damages.

This lawsuit involves processors found in the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and several versions of the iPad. There is yet another lawsuit pending between the two for the same patent related to the iPhone 6S, the iPhone 6S Pro, and the iPad Pro.

Cases like this – brought by a university – are becoming more common. Universities are using patent litigation as another revenue stream. And the University of Wisconsin is not alone. The University of Minnesota last year sued telecommunications companies; Carnegie Mellon University is involved in a billion dollar dispute with Marvell Technology Group; NYU and the University of Iowa have sued Abbott over the drug Humira.

Whether this trend will continue depends, in part, upon future laws related to patent litigation.

Sources: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/10/apple-faces-862m-patent-damage-claim-from-university-of-wisconsin/ http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/13/us-apple-wisconsin-patent-idUSKCN0S72T320151013 http://theconversation.com/university-of-wisconsin-versus-apple-should-universities-resort-to-patent-trolling-49180

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