IP Law Daily Jury awards CalTech $1.1 billion for Apple and Broadcom’s infringement of Wi-Fi patents
Friday, January 31, 2020

Jury awards CalTech $1.1 billion for Apple and Broadcom’s infringement of Wi-Fi patents

By Cheryl Beise, J.D.

Broadcom owes the California Institute of Technology $270 million for manufacturing infringing chips and Apple owes $837 million for selling devices with infringing Broadcom chips.

Following a two-week trial and less than five hours of deliberations, a Los Angeles jury issued a verdict finding that California Institute of Technology (CalTech) is entitled to $1.1 billion in running royalty damages from Apple Inc. and chip-maker Broadcom Ltd. for infringement of three patents. The jury found that Broadcom was liable for $270 million for manufacturing the infringing chips and Apple was liable for $837 million for selling devices with the infringing Broadcom chips. The award is one of the largest in patent history (The California Institute of Technology v. Broadcom Ltd., January 29, 2020, Wu, G.)

CalTech filed suit against Broadcom and Apple in 2016. The complaint asserted three related patent— U.S. Patent No. 7,116,710 (the ’710 patent), issued October 3, 2006, U.S. Patent No. 7,421,032, (the ’032 patent), issued September 2, 2008, and U.S. Patent No. 7,916,781, (the ’781 patent), issued March 29, 2011. Each patent is entitled "Serial Concatenation of Interleaved Convolutional Codes Forming Turbo-Like Codes." The patents purport to cover a type of novel data error correction codes, called "irregular repeat and accumulate codes" ("IRA codes"). The patents implement these IRA codes using encoders and decoders. The claimed methods and apparatuses generate an IRA code from information bits of a message by reordering repeated instances of those bits in a randomized but known way, and then performing logical operations on the reordered bits. According to CalTech, the patents support the IEEE Wi-Fi standard 802.11n and 802.11ac relating to a "High Throughput (HT)" mode and a "Very High Throughput (VHT)" mode implemented using a specific type of LDPC (Low-Density Parity Check).

CalTech accused Broadcom of manufacturing and selling Wi-Fi chips that incorporate infringing IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and accused Apple of selling millions of iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, Apple Watches, and other Wi-Fi products that incorporated the infringing Broadcom chips. Apple and Broadcom were not aware of CalTech’s patents until the suit was filed.

The jury found that Broadcom and Apple infringed claims 20 and 22 of the ’710 patent, claims 11 and 18 of the ’032 patent, and claim 13 of the ’781 patent. The jury determined that neither party’s infringement was willful. The jury awarded CalTech $837,801,178 in damages from Apple, represents a running royalty of $1.40 per device for Apple’s 600 million infringing devices. CalTech was awarded $270,241,171 from Broadcom, representing $0.26 per chip for more than one million Broadcom chips.

Apple and Broadcom have vowed to appeal the verdict.

The case is No. 2:16-cv-03714-GW-AGR.

Attorneys: Edward J. DeFranco (Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan LLP) for The California Institute of Technology. James M. Dowd (Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP) for Apple Inc. and Broadcom Limited.

Companies: The California Institute of Technology; Apple Inc.; Broadcom Limited.

MainStory: TopStory Patent TechnologyInternet CaliforniaNews

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