Apple Ordered By Judge To Pay University Of Wisconsin $234 Million in Patent Dispute

$234 million is a lot less than $862 million in damages that Apple could have faced for infringing on a University of Wisconsin-Madison patent, but it’s still a lot of money — even for a company as large as Apple. The larger figure was the maximum amount of damages that Apple was facing for infringing on Patent No. 5,781,752, which is held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

The number is also actually smaller than what WARF was originally asking for during the trial: $400,000 million. Despite the lower damages, WARF was still pleased with the outcome. “This decision is great news," lauded WARF Managing Director Carl Gulbrandsen in a statement to Reuters.

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And it also looks as though Apple dodged a bullet with respects to even further damages. Presiding U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled that Apple had not willfully infringed on the WARF patent, which meant that treble damages were not awarded in the case.

Apple is the second tech giant to be slayed by WARF, as Intel decided to settle out of court in 2008 instead of going through a trial. It’s estimated that Intel paid WARF $110 million to settle the case, and Reuters is reporting that Apple felt it was entitled to pay even less.

The patent at the center of the trial involves techniques to improve the performance and efficiency of microprocessors. Apple’s A7, A8, and A8X processors were targeted by WARF, which means that the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini products were caught up in the legal drama.

However, Apple’s battle in the courts with WARF is far from over. WARF has filed a second lawsuit using the same patent to attack the A9 and A9X processors used in the recently released iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, along with the not-yet-released iPad Pro.