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Apple & Broadcom Settle Long-Running WiFi Chip Patent Dispute With Caltech

Apple & Broadcom Settle Long-Running WiFi Chip Patent Dispute With Caltech

Apple and its WiFi chip provider Broadcom have reached a settlement with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), ending a seven-year legal battle over the patents used in the chips, reports Reuters.

The terms of the settlement have not been made public, but Caltech will drop the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning Caltech will not be allowed to refile the suit against Apple and Broadcom in the future.

Caltech in 2016 filed a lawsuit against Apple and Broadcom. with the U.S. District Court for Central California, which accused Apple of selling Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models, as well as other products that use WiFi technology, incorporating IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and thereby infringing upon Caltech’s four asserted patents in question.

The patents in question included U.S. Patent No. 7,116,710, U.S. Patent No. 7,421,032, U.S. Patent No. 7,916,781, and U.S. Patent No. 8,284,833.

Apple and Broadcom denied any infringing on the patents and filed countersuits against Caltech, urging the court to invalidate the patents in question. Apple said Caltech had waited too long to collect damages, as they had waited six years after the 802.11n wireless standard was published. The Cupertino firm also argued Caltech doesn’t make, use, or sell products that practice the claims in the contested patents.

The jury ruled in favor of Caltech’s argument that the patented technologies were “key to keeping Apple competitive in the cellphone market.” The three Caltech patents at the heart of the case related to Wi-Fi performance and balancing speed with factors like heat, power, and chip size.

However, in 2020, a jury decided that Apple and Broadcom had infringed on Caltech’s patents, and Apple was ordered to pay $838 million, while Broadcom was told to pay $270 million.

Apple and Broadcom appealed the decision, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ultimately decided that while the two companies had infringed on Caltech patents, the damages award was not justified.

A new trial was ordered to recalculate the payoff that Apple and Broadcom would be required to turn over to Caltech. However, Apple, Broadcom, and Caltech announced in August that a settlement was in the works.