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CalTech and Quinn Emanuel wins over Apple and Broadcom

CalTech and Quinn Emanuel scores massive $1.1B Wi-Fi Patent against Apple and Broadcom after years of dispute.

The California Institute of Technology and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan have received a $1.1 billion patent infringement settlement against Apple Inc. and Broadcom Corp. over Wi-Fi chip technology.

California Institute of Technology (CalTech), is a private doctoral research university in Pasadena, California. Known for its strength in natural science and engineering, Caltech is often ranked among the top ten universities in the world.

Over the past several years, Apple has been involved in the authorized proceedings relating to the applied sciences of corporate wi-fi chipsets. CalTech’s suit was filed in Los Angeles federal court in 2016, arguing that hundreds of millions of Apple devices with Broadcom Wi-Fi chips were violating their patents. Broadcom offers wireless chips for a wide range of Apple products, including iPhones. Now, the company has settled a long-standing dispute with Qualcomm over royalty funds.

“Apple manufactures, uses, imports, offers for sale, and/or sells Wi-Fi products that incorporate IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and infringe the Asserted Patents. Apple products that incorporate IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and infringe the Asserted Patents include, but are not limited to, the following: iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad Mini 4, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 2, MacBook Air [and] Apple Watch,” the lawsuit states.

A jury awarded the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) $1.1 billion in damages after finding Apple and Broadcom guilty of violating the Wi-Fi patents. Apple bears the brunt of the fine, as it was ordered to pay $837.8 million in damages, while Broadcom is now legally forced to fork over $270.2 billion (unless an appeal is brought).

Quinn Emanuel’s team featured partners James Asperger, Rachael McCracken, Kevin Johnson, and Bill Price.

Broadcom Inc. is an American designer, developer, manufacturer and global supplier of a broad range of semiconductor and infrastructure software products, Broadcom’s product portfolio serves the data center, networking, software, broadband, wireless, and storage and industrial markets

Apple had repeatedly attempted with only limited success to invalidate the patents in the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. That mostly took the truth off the table before Wu’s trial.

However, Caltech argued to the jury that, at the guidance of Apple, Broadcom introduced the infringing technology into its Wi-Fi chips and distributed them to over 1 billion users worldwide.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr represented Apple and Broadcom. Apple had attempted to detach its case from Broadcom, claiming that “Apple is merely a downstream indirect party whose goods include the accused chips.”

Price told jurors in his opening statement that Caltech professor Robert McEliece developed U.S. Patents 7,116,710, 7,421,032 and 7,916,781 with Ph.D. students Hui Jin and Aamod Khandekar. They were looking for ways to reduce errors in satellite and remote spacecraft transmissions. Their approach was a technology called periodic recurrence and code accumulation.

“We are pleased the jury found that Apple and Broadcom infringed Caltech patents,” CalTech said in a statement. “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.”

Bloomberg stated that this was the sixth-largest patent verdict of all time. Of course, both Apple and Broadcom have said they are planning to appeal the ruling.