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Apple to pay $506m to UW for infringing chip efficiency patent

Apple has been ordered by a US judge to pay $506 million to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation for infringing on a patent owned by the latter. Interestingly, this comes in the back of another order that required Apple to pay $234 million to WARF on the same charges.

However, given that Apple has failed to comply with the October 2015 order, it is another $272 million that has been added to the fine amount so that it is now $506 million that Apple is liable to pay to the patent licensing division of the Wisconsin-Madison University.

The original ruling in this regard had ordered Apple to pay $862 million. The amount was later reduced to $234 million after Apple had managed to convince judges it wasn’t a case of willful infringement on the said patent. However, the latest ruling comes after the court found Apple to continue infringing on the patents as long as it remained void. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation held the patent on the technology from 1998 till December 2016.

The said patent has to do with a unique ‘predictor circuit’ that aims to predict the next processor instructions that the user is likely to issue. This, in turn, led to an overall improvement in chip efficiency; something that the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation claims has been incorporated in Apple’s A7, A8, and A8X chipsets. The chip, in turn, went in to power several generations of Apple devices such as the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, along with several iPad models.

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In another twist to the entire legal battle, Apple is also facing another lawsuit filed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison on similar charges, that of infringing on the same patent. This time, Apple is accused of incorporating the same predictor technology in another generation of its chips – A9 and A9X.

Those chips again form the core of such successful devices such as the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and the iPad Pro.

Apple is yet to issue any comment on the development post the court ruling but is likely planning for filing an appeal.