Federal Jury Awards $1.1 Billion in Damages to California Institute of Technology in Wi-Fi Patent Lawsuit Against Apple and Broadcom

On Wednesday, January 29, 2020, a federal jury reached a verdict in California Institute of Technology v. Broadcom Limited and Apple, Inc, a lawsuit involving alleged patent infringement of the California Institute of Technology’s patents on Wi-Fi networking technologies. The jury awarded $1.1 billion in damages to the university for the patent infringement. Specifically, the jury awarded the university $270 million for Broadcom’s infringement and $837 million for Apple’s infringement.

The lawsuit was filed in May 2016 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Caltech’s four patents at issue in the lawsuit, granted between 2006 and 2012, relate to the 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol standards. Caltech alleged that Apple knowingly used and willfully infringed upon its patents. The patents at issue cover technology found in Apple’s products starting from the iPhone 5 forward. Broadcom was named in the lawsuit because it creates the Wi-Fi chips used in Apple products.

Apple and Broadcom argued that the lawsuit should not move forward since the inventor did not intend to use the data transmission patents for Wi-Fi, specifically. Further, Apple contended that it did not build any infringing tech and that, rather, it merely purchased off-the-shelf components directly from Broadcom. According to a juror interviewed by Law360, however, the jury did not find such arguments persuasive when arriving at the verdict. Instead, the jury concluded that the Broadcom components sold to Apple themselves infringed on Caltech’s patents.

Additional Reading

Apple must pay $837 million for infringing Wi-Fi patents from Caltech, jury decides, The Verge (January 29, 2020)

Apple sued by Caltech for allegedly infringing Wi-Fi patents, The Verge (May 30, 2016)

Redacted Jury Verdict (Case No. 2:16-cv-03714)

The California Institute of Technology v. Broadcom Limited et al (Case No. 2:16-cv-03714)