Wisconsin jury says Apple owes $234 million in patent case

AP News
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Posted: Oct 16, 2015 7:52 PM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A jury awarded the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation more than $234 million Friday in a patent infringement lawsuit against computer maker Apple Inc.

The jury set the amount after about three hours of deliberations. It was about $165 million less than the foundation had sought, but its legal team was all smiles and handshakes after the verdict was read, the Wisconsin State Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1MuCa4t ). The same jury found Tuesday that Apple infringed on the patent, triggering the damages phase of the trial.

The patent dispute involved chip technology co-invented by University of Wisconsin-Madison computer sciences professor Gurindar Sohi, who was in the courtroom for the decision. The technology improves the speed and efficiency of processors that run popular Apple mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads, extending battery life by as much as two hours.

"For Dr. Sohi, I hope you felt that your invention was vindicated," U.S. District Judge William Conley said.

Apple spokeswoman Rachel Tulley said only that the company plans to appeal. Apple's attorneys declined to comment.

The nonprofit Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation serves as the technology transfer arm of UW-Madison by patenting and commercializing campus inventions.

"This is a case where the hard work of our university researchers and the integrity of patenting and licensing discoveries has prevailed," said Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of the foundation. "The jury recognized the seminal computer processing work that took place on our campus."

Foundation attorney Morgan Chu asked the jury for a royalty of $2.74 per unit, while Apple attorney William Lee said the patent infringement was worth a royalty of only 7 cents per unit. The number of units involved was closely guarded information, shown only to the lawyers and the jury, not to the public.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj