Apple Caltech $1B patent infringement case returns to court

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An Apple Caltech patent infringement case is returning to court some two years after the iPhone maker was ordered to pay $838M in damages. The new trial will only consider the sum awarded, and will not revisit the question of infringement.

Broadcom, one of Apple’s chip suppliers, was ordered to pay an additional $270M, making the total sum awarded a fraction over $1.1B …


The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) sued Apple back in 2016, claiming that Broadcom chips used in iPhones and other Apple products infringed on the college’s Wi-Fi patents. Caltech won the case in January 2020.

The jury sided with Caltech’s argument that the patented technologies were “key to keeping Apple competitive in the cellphone market.” The three Caltech patents at the heart of the case related to Wi-Fi performance and balancing speed with factors like heat, power, and chip size.

Apple said at the time that it would appeal, and subsequently tried and failed to have the patents declared invalid.

Apple Caltech appeal

However, it appears that the Cupertino company has now received the go-ahead to appeal the amount of damages awarded. Walter Bloomberg tweeted the news.

It has now been confirmed by both Bloomberg Law (paywalled) and Reuters.

Apple Inc. and Broadcom Inc. won a new trial on damages in a patent-infringement case over California Institute of Technology patents on Wi-Fi technology after a U.S. appeals court vacated a $1.1 billion verdict.

A two-tier damage award of damages of $270 million against Broadcom and $837.8 million against Apple that involved different royalty rates from each of the companies based on the same theory of infringement is “legally unsupportable,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled.

The court also affirmed the jury finding that Apple and Broadcom infringed two CalTech patents, but ordered a new trial [on the damages].

Photo: Rolandas S/Unsplash

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