Appeals court reverses $234 million patent-infringement ruling against Apple


A8 chip
Turns out the A7, A8 and A8X didn't infringe on a patent held by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Photo: Apple

An appeals court just reversed the 2015 decision against Apple made in a patent-infringement lawsuit brought by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The original court ruled that the iPhone-maker owed the university $234 million for infringing on patented microchip technology in the iPhone and iPad.

The 2015 jury decided that the Apple A7, A8 and A8X processors violated the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s 1998 patent for a predictor circuit — one that improves performance by predicting which instructions will be needed next.

Last year, another judge increased the fine to $506 million to cover Apple’s use of the technology through the patent’s expiration in 2016.

Apple wins on appeal

However, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., wrote today (.pdf): “Because no reasonable juror could have found infringement based on the evidence presented during the liability phase of trial, we reverse the district court’s denial of Apple’s motion for judgment as a matter of law.”

This ends Apple’s obligation to pay the university foundation the original $234 million. It also likely means the additional $272 million added in 2017 will be removed as well.


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