University of Wisconsin sues Apple over patent dispute

It looks like Apple's patent wars are continuing, but this time instead of being the hunter, the company is the hunted.

At the heart of the issue is a patent that was released back in the late 90s. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that technology in the A7 processor violates a patent that was issued back in 1998; the patent deals with how the CPU pre-fetches instructions for faster execution. The new A7 processor is found in Apple's flagship iPhone 5S, the iPad Air, and the iPad mini with Retina display.

The legal brief, weighing in at only seven pages, claims that Apple willfully copied the idea and the University is seeking triple damages as compensation, although an exact dollar amount is not specified. While it's likely that Apple will simply settle with the University, they may also play a war of attrition since the company has more resources available than the school.

The school reached an unspecified settlement with in 2008 with Intel when the company's Core 2 Duo processors were found to be infringing the patent.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Image courtesy of Apple

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11 Comments

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Duking it out with a University in court is not the same as going up against a competing corporation. If Intel already settled over this, I think Apple will too.

Indeed, in the court of public opinion, I'd wager most people would side with the school over Apple. I doubt Apple would want that kind of bad publicity, and would pay to make it just "go away".

Plus what if your product is released on a limited scale in limited markets. That could be a means of saying "see, we had a product out already for x number of years"

There should be some kind of rule that if you dont use your patent anytime soon (2 years), you lose it. You cant just have an idea and bank on it 20-30 years later when someone else
brings the technology to consumers.

that is dumb. sometimes product development takes years upon years. plus,that rule could easily be abused. anyone can release any not serious product to show that they are using the patent. this wouldn't solve anything, it would waste peoples time.

DrOmango said,
You cant just have an idea and bank on it 20-30 years later when someone else

No, you can't. But it's more fun to rail against the patent system, isn't it?

Patents expire in way less than the 20-30 year span you specified.

what if I develop a new cpu technology, but I'm not a cpu maker so I can't use it. but I license it to intel who implements it on their CPU's and uses my patent. Then I'm using my patent.

rfirth said,

Patents expire in way less than the 20-30 year span you specified.

Um, okay so .... 6-10, 15, 17 or 20 years depending on the type of patent.

And the twenty years can be extended depending on the circumstances....

... you're pointing out the renewal/maintenance fees? Doesn't really say how much those are in the article though...

Edited by Ned, Feb 7 2014, 3:28pm :

HawkMan said,
what if I develop a new cpu technology, but I'm not a cpu maker so I can't use it. but I license it to intel who implements it on their CPU's and uses my patent. Then I'm using my patent.

Exactly. Actively licensing patents is a way of using it.

Companies that develop technology and license it to other companies are not necessarily patent trolls, folks. There is a fine (somewhat subjective) line that the courts are still trying to figure out (I think/I hope).

If a company invests time in R&D and comes out with something that is considerably unique, then I think they should be paid for that. If a company invests time in writing vague patents and then going after anyone and everyone who comes close to the patent, then they are trolls.

You are absolutely right. There are a number of fabless companies that design microchips. ARM is just such one. Apple itself is another one. They license their basic processor design from ARM and add their own midifications to it before dishing out its manufacturing.