Jury Orders Apple, Broadcom to Pay $1.1 Billion for Infringing CalTech Wi-Fi Patent

By , and | January 31, 2020

Apple Inc. and Broadcom Inc. must pay $1.1 billion in damages for infringing California Institute of Technology patents on Wi-Fi technology, a jury in California ordered.

Apple was ordered to pay $837.8 million while Broadcom was hit with a $270.2 million verdict, according to lawyers for CalTech. The school sued the technology companies over a range of patents related to wireless data transmissions.

It’s the biggest jury verdict of any kind so far this year, and the sixth-largest patent verdict of all time, according to Bloomberg data.

While Apple spent years suing other companies for allegedly infringing its patents, the iPhone maker has also been critical of how damages are calculated in patent cases. It has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue in a long-running dispute with VirnetX Holding Corp., a company with less than $2 million in annual revenue that has been pursuing a big payday from Apple for years.

Apple said the company planned to appeal the CalTech verdict. Broadcom also plans to appeal, the company said, adding it disagreed with the factual and legal basis for the verdict.

CalTech is “pleased the jury found that Apple and Broadcom infringed Caltech patents,” a spokesperson said, adding the school 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 and Broadcom lawyers have denied infringing the patents and said the school wasn’t entitled to significant damages even if they were using the inventions.

2016 Lawsuit

CalTech filed the lawsuit in 2016 and named iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple Watches, Mac computers, HomePod smart speakers, and the since-discontinued AirPort wireless routers as devices using the infringing Broadcom components.

Apple and Broadcom previously said in court filings that the claims against Apple are “based solely on the incorporation of allegedly infringing chips” in Apple products.

The only issues before the jury were whether the Broadcom chips used the university’s patents and, if so, how much in damages was owed. The verdict against Apple marks one of the biggest against the Cupertino, California-based technology giant in its history.

The case is California Institute of Technology v Broadcom Ltd., 16-3714, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles).

–With assistance from Ian King and Laurel Calkins.

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