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Apple sued by Caltech for allegedly infringing Wi-Fi patents

Apple sued by Caltech for allegedly infringing Wi-Fi patents


Since the iPhone 5 in 2012

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Apple is being sued by Caltech for using Wi-Fi chips that allegedly infringe on four of the university's patents. In a lawsuit filed last Thursday, Caltech argued that Apple knowingly used and advertised gains from patented technology in almost all of its major products from the iPhone 5 forward. Caltech is hoping to block sales of those products and to recover damages from the infringement. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Caltech says that its patents are integral to 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, the two most recent standards. Its patents are supposed to "allow for faster data transmissions," while also simplifying the hardware needed to offer Wi-Fi. The patents were granted between 2006 and 2012.

Broadcom is also being sued

The lawsuit also targets Broadcom, which creates the Wi-Fi chips used in the iPhone, MacBook, and other Apple products. Though it's the core target of this lawsuit, Apple is also looped in because, as Caltech argues, it's one of Broadcom's biggest customers, representing around 14 percent of the company's revenue.

Universities don't usually sue out of a patent-trollish desire to make money off of old patents, so this case may well have merit. Apple ran into trouble with university patents as recently as last year, when a jury ruled it would have to pay the University of Wisconsin-Madison damages of $234 million for infringing a patent regarding processor performance.