Skip to main content

Apple to pay University of Wisconsin $234M for infringing on its chip efficiency patent


Earlier this week, Apple was found guilty in an ongoing patent lawsuit initiated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the time, Apple was said to potentially owe the university’s patent licensing arm $862 million in damages. Today, however, Reuters reports that the jury in the case, after much deliberation, has ordered Apple to pay $234 million in damages.

The main reason for the large cut in the damages Apple will pay is that U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled that Apple had not willfully infringed on the patent. Had Conley ruled the other way, however, Apple would have been faced with closer to the $862 million amount in damages.

Apple says that it will appeal the ruling, as expected. In 2008, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation sued Intel over the same patent. The two parties settled outside of court, however, with Intel paying $110 million to the university. Although, Apple believes that it owes far less than even that $110 million amount.

The lawsuit centers the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s 1998 patent that handles improving chip efficiency. WARF claims that Apple’s A7, A8, and A8X chips, found in the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and various iPads, all violate the patent. Apple initially asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to review the validity of the patent to begin with, but its request was denied.

Even though this case appears to slowly be wrapping up, WARF last month launched a second lawsuit against Apple arguing that the A9 and A9X chips found in the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and iPad Pro infringe upon the same patent.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. I’m not really sure how I feel about this… I love apple, but am also a student at a UW school, UW- Stevens Point. And we did just face a budget cut of $250 million, because of our idiotic Governor, Scott Walker. I know that this money, will most like not by put towards our education. But that is a ice sum of money, would be nice if it got funded towards our education. But I also feel bad that Apple, a company that I really love, got sued.

    • prukel - 7 years ago

      From a post by an engineer responding to the suit: “It’s not like Apple is out to cheat WARF. This issue is the patents. WARF claims they had this patent in 1998. Problem is, I (and by “I”, I means thousands of college students) was developing predictive branching algorithms in 1980 in college as a Computer Science major. As a engineer at IBM, we were developing them in 1983 and before. Apple is right to question the validity of something that was being actively developed decades before at other universities and businesses.”

      My Pops spent lifetime at a University as a prof and Uni’s are a business, have a bottom line, most Uni Prez job is to raise money, the Provost manages curriculum. So another part truly makes sense;
      “Can you tell me what WARF has done with those patents that have benefited society, you, anyone? At least Apple and other tech companies create products from which many can benefit. And do you honestly think WARF would have sued Apples for millions if Apple wasn’t so successful? No, they wouldn’t. They see the money and want some of it.”

    • “I’m not really sure how I feel about this…. I love apple….”

      Listen my friend – if Apple have infringed on a patent then they need to pay up it’s as simple as that. We would expect Samsung, Microsoft et al to do it. As for loving Apple and feeling bad that they got sued? Don’t. They don’t know you, don’t care about you or give two hoots about you. Like every other business, including Samsung and Microsoft, you are merely a conduit for them to make money.

      Believe it or not it is actually possible to love the tech you use without actually worshipping the people who make it :)

    • DanG (@Ingila_Bear) - 7 years ago

      A true iSheep!!!

      • rnc - 7 years ago

        @DanG, you should get a life, or maybe an YouTube account.

  2. Andrew Maloney - 7 years ago

    If Apple wants to review and throw out patents like these, then perhaps they need to get rid of a few of their own.

    • Isitjustme - 7 years ago

      Well Samsung sure didn’t need to throw out anything wherever they wanted an iOS patent review.
      Go figure.

  3. Anyone else feel that a publicly funded University shouldn’t be allowed to patent anything?

    • dvinder42 - 7 years ago


      • veggiedude - 7 years ago

        Maybe the taxpayers should get something back. Not sure if I agree, but that is the logic you asked for.

      • dvinder42 - 7 years ago

        The university is the primary beneficiary of patents. The scientist/engineer is second. And taxpayers do get something back from funding public universities: a reduced in-state tuition for their kids. Plus why would a grade A scientist/engineer want to work at an institution that doesn’t reward ingenuity?

    • rnc - 7 years ago

      Or as long as proceedings go 100% to the patent inventors…

  4. dcj001 - 7 years ago

    Why is the title of this article say “Apple to pay $234 million?”

    If Apple is appealing, there is no guarantee that they will be paying anything.


Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

Tips, questions, typos to