Apple’s $1.1 Billion Patent Dispute With Caltech Granted New Damages Trial

Apple and its supplier Broadcom today convinced a U.S. Court of Appeals to dismiss a jury that ordered them to pay $ 1.1 billion for infringing Wi-Fi patents belonging to the California Institute of Technology (via Reuters).

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In 2016, Caltech accused Apple and Broadcom of infringing their patents related to the Wi-Fi technology used in many Apple devices. Caltech’s patents, issued between 2006 and 2012, are highly technical and relate to IRA / LDPC codes that use simpler coding and decoding circuits for improved data transfer rates and performance. The technologies are implemented in both the 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards used by many Apple products.

In a case in the Central California District Court, Caltech accused Apple of selling various iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch models along with other Wi-Fi products that incorporate these IRA / LDPC encoders and / or or decode, thereby infringing four of Caltech’s patents. Broadcom, as one of Apple’s main suppliers of Wi-Fi chips, was also mentioned in the complaint. At the time, Apple used Broadcom chips in the Apple Watch, ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ as well as MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac.

In 2020, a jury ordered Apple and Broadcom to jointly pay Caltech a $ 1.1 billion fine for the patent infringement. Apple was sentenced to pay $ 838 million, while Broadcom was sentenced to pay $ 270 million. Apple hoped to invalidate one of the patent claims, but this was subsequently rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The U.S. Federal Court of Appeals today ruled that the $ 1.1 billion award, one of the largest in U.S. history for a patent dispute, was unjustified and ordered a new lawsuit. The new damages case will only reconsider Caltech’s allotted amount, rather than reconsider the patent infringement itself.

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