Long-running lawsuit pitting Caltech against Broadcom and Apple ends


Broadcom Wi-Fi modems were at the center of a lengthy lawsuit that's finally been settled.
Photo: Florian Knodt/Flickr

The California Institute of Technology got what it wanted out of a years-long patent-infringement lawsuit against Broadcom and (peripherally) Apple. Caltech filed paperwork in a California court dismissing its case.

It’s not clear at this point whether or how much Broadcom and Apple paid the university as part of a settlement. It could be hundreds of millions, though.

Caltech vs. Broadcom and Apple ends with settlement

Way back in 2016, Caltech claimed that the Wi-Fi modems that Broadcom makes infringe on its patents. Apple was dragged in because many of those modems go into Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc.

In 2020, Broadcom and Apple appeared to lose the case because they were ordered to pay the California university $1.1 billion. But an appeals court overturned that ruling in 2022, sending the parties back to court.

But now the lawsuit has come to an end. Details are scanty, but Reuters reports that Caltech, Broadcom and Apple reached a tentative settlement in August, and this week the California university informed the court that it’s dismissing its lawsuit with prejudice, which means it can’t be refiled.

A mystery payout

The terms of the agreement between the three were not disclosed. The total going to Caltech is surely less than the overturned $1.1 billion, but that award shows that Caltech could potentially convince a court it’s due a large sum.  The university is therefore unlikely to have walked away without Broadcom and Apple writing a couple of hefty checks.

Still, it’s one less problem hanging over the Mac-maker’s head.


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