Apple sued by Caltech over WiFi patents

Apple is facing yet another lawsuit, and this time, the blow comes from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California which is regarded as one to the best engineering and science school in the world. Caltech has accused Apple and chipmaker Broadcom for infringing upon their patents for wireless technology. The lawsuit has been filed in a federal district court for Central California by Caltech, claiming that both Apple and Broadcom have violated four WiFi patents associated with the use of IRA/LPDC decoders and encoders for error correction in 802.11n and newer WiFi hardware.

Caltech’s lawsuit is targeted at Broadcom who allegedly uses the technology in their chips, but it also targets Apple, who is a Broadcom customer and uses the same chips in its products. The institute also claimed that Apple has knowingly used and advertised gains from the patents in almost all of its major products starting from the iPhone5, the iPad, the Macbook Air and the Apple Watch.

Millikan Library, California Institute of Technology

Part of the formal complaint reads, “Apple manufactures, uses, imports, offers for sale, and/or sells Wi-Fi products that incorporate IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and infringe the Asserted Patents. Apple products that incorporate IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and infringe the Asserted Patents include, but are not limited to, the following: iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad Mini 4, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 2, MacBook Air, Apple Watch…”

Caltech is not only seeking damages for the Apple product sales for the past years but also a ban on the sale of all the Apple products named in the lawsuit. When it comes to damages, Caltech simply says that it wants to receive “adequate” compensation and refused to mention a specific value money-wise.

Apple is no stranger to lawsuits. The company has been waging a patent battle with Samsung since 2011, when the companies both argued the other was stealing their technologies for smartphones and tablets. While they ended up dropping most of their suits, they’re expected to battle over patents in the United States Supreme Court later this year. Apple has also faced several lawsuits from so-called “patent trolls,” or companies that hold patents they either acquired or obtained by inventing technologies. Patent trolls don’t actually create products and instead rely on lawsuits and royalties to make money.

Apple and Caltech are more than likely to come upon a settlement. A giant company like Apple simply cannot afford a ban on the sales of their devices in the United States. So far, no comments have been made by the Cupertino based IT giant regarding the lawsuit.

Last year, in October, a court ruled that Apple was to pay over $234 million in damages to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for violating patents covering technology that were used in both iPhones and iPads. The company has a bad history when it comes to lawsuits and universities.

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