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WARF v. Apple

After last week’s $234 million damages award in favor of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), is WARF’s dispute with Apple coming to a close? Even Siri admits it is “an interesting question.” 

WARF won a major battle last week when a Wisconsin federal jury found that technology in Apple’s iPhones and iPads infringes a WARF computer processor patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,781,752.  The jury award was one of the largest Apple has been ordered to pay for patent infringement, and it was a significant victory for WARF.  But, the war is likely to continue.

The patent is directed to an innovation for improving power efficiency and overall processor performance by predicting what instructions a user will give based on data from previous use and previous guesses by the machine.  Last week’s verdict found Apple’s A7 chip – the chip found in the iPhone 5S, iPad Air and IPad Mini with Retina Display models – to infringe the patent.  In addition, WARF recently launched a second lawsuit against Apple, based on the same patent, and targeting Apple’s newest chips, the A9 and A9X, used in the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, and iPad Pro. 

Apple reportedly plans to appeal last week’s verdict, and WARF has the resources it needs to continue both cases.  In fact, WARF leveraged the same patent against Intel’s Core 2 Duo CPU in 2008, and the case settled out of court in 2009 for a reported $110 million.  Given the stakes and available resources, this war appears far from over. 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is for general informational purposes only. This post is not updated to account for changes in the law and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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