Companies are not in the business of losing money to those who steal their product ideas. But the path to patent protection in the process of profit gets dirty. Microsoft and Google have agreed to stop the mudslinging in some major disputes while Samsung and Apple might soon have to send lawyers up to Washington, D.C.
But the University of Wisconsin-Madison has a bone to pick with Cupertino and a court is now in the process of determining how big that bone will be.
Specifically, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which licenses innovations made on behalf of the university, successfully contested to the US District Court in Madison that Apple infringed on its patent for chip efficiency, dating back to 1998.
The case, filed in January 2014, focused on the A7, A8 and A8X processors — the iPhone 5s being the earliest device to hold the A7.
Apple tried to challenge the validity of the patent to the US Patent and Trademark Office, but was denied.
The judge presiding over the case says Apple could be held liable for damages of up to $862.4 million. There could even be more penalties to pay if Apple is found to have willfully infringed upon the patent.
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation also has another suit pending against Apple, this one concerning the A9 and A9X processors found in the latest Apple mobile devices.