A jury of Los Angeles has recently given a verdict against Apple and Broadcom, directing the two parties to pay a whopping 1.1 billion USD to California University for copying a specific patented Wi-Fi technology. It is probably the highest ever amount to be paid on a patent case in American history.
California University has sued Apple and Broadcom in 2016 and alleged that the Wi-Fi technology used by Apple’s iPhone, iPads, and Apple Watches is a direct infringement of patents. It should be noted that Apple uses Broadcom’s components as far as its Wi-Fi services are concerned. The Los Angeles verdict directed Apple to pay 837 million USD, and Broadcom may have to pay 270 million USD.
Broadcom is the company that is making the chips, but the jury seems to have awarded a bigger penalty for Apple as it is the one making enormous money out of it.
Think of the patented technology as a piece of property that was stolen and sold to someone else, said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group.
He added, It doesn’t matter if they had a go-between steal it for them, they were not allowed to benefit from theft even if they were downstream.
It should be noted that there have been speculations that Apple supported Broadcom’s attempt to make a hostile takeover of Qualcomm in 2018 before it was stopped by President Trump, citing national security reasons. Broadcom has already shifted its HQ to California from Singapore.
As per the preliminary reports, the verdict is likely to be appealed to the higher courts. Broadcom has said in an official statement, While we thank the members of the jury for their service, we disagree with the factual and legal bases for the verdict and intend to appeal.
The California University has welcomed the verdict and said, As a non-profit institution of higher education, Caltech is committed to protecting its intellectual property in furtherance of its mission to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education.
Apple has been dragged to several litigations off late. Most of the cases belong to patent infringement. However, it is crucial to see how the lawsuit takes shape once the appeal is on.