A US jury has ruled that Apple used technology patented by the University of Wisconsin - Madison in creating mobile chips used in its iPhone, iPad Mini, and iPad Air — a decision that means the company could be forced to pay almost a billion dollars in damages. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) sued Apple in February last year, claiming that A7, A8, and A8X processors used in the iPhone 5S, 6, and 6 Plus benefited from technology developed at the University and patented in 1998.
District Judge William Conley, presiding over the case, said Apple could be liable for up to $862.4 million in damages for its use of the technology. That figure may go up if the company is found to have infringed on the patent willingly, a decision that will be made after the judge has ascertained liability and agreed on the exact price the company needs to pay. Apple had attempted to push back against the university's licensing arm after the lawsuit was launched last year. In April, it petitioned the the US Patent and Trademark Office to review the WARF's patent, but was rebuffed.
WARF has already sued Apple again for using its tech in the new iPhone 6S
The WARF, described by Business Insider as one of "the most fearsome patent trolls" in 2012, has had success with this particular patent in the past. In 2008, it brought a case against Intel for the use of the same technology, settling just before the trial with the huge chipmaker in 2009. Regardless of how much Apple does have to pay in damages in this case, it won't be the last it hears of the patent — the WARF sued the company again last month for its use of the technology in its newest A9 and A9X chips, featured in both its latest batch of iPhones and the iPad Pro.