Two tech giants are on a collision course over Wi-Fi patents.
Last week, Caltech filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. claiming Apple infringed on four of the university’s patents by using chips containing Caltech technology in almost all of its major products since the iPhone5 was released in 2012.
The chips allow for smoother Wi-Fi transmissions.
In the lawsuit, Caltech is asking for a jury trial and is seeking to block sales of the products and recover damages for the infringement.
“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.”
Apple has pulled AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule from store shelves. It is not known if that is connected to the lawsuit.
Any ruling that would temporarily bar the sale of iPhones could be devastating to Apple
According to CNN MoneyWatch, more than two-thirds of Apple’s revenue is made up of iPhone sales.
“So where the iPhone goes, so goes Apple — and last quarter was a miserable one for Apple’s signature gadget. IPhone sales fell for the first time in history.”
Locally, Pasadena’s Apple Store sees huge lines with the release of every new model.
The lawsuit also named Broadcom which supplies Wi-Fi chips for Apple’s devices, and Avago Technologies Limited. Apple is one of Broadcom’s biggest customers, representing about 14 percent of its revenue.
This is not the first patent case for either side. Last year, Caltech sued Canon, Nikon and four other digital-camera makers, for infringing on six patents relating to pixel sensors in digital cameras. All of the patents came after research the university was doing for NASA.
Apple was ordered to pay the University of Wisconsin-Madison damages of $234 million for infringing a patent regarding processor performance. The University was asking for $862 million.