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July 26, 2017

Apple patent dispute leads to $506m order from judge

Can Apple dig in and argue its way out of having to pay the hefty fine, or will the university prevail?

By Tom Ball

An ongoing Apple patent dispute has been brought to light again as a ruling passes that the company must pay $506 million to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This comes after defying a court ruling initially put in place for the company’s use of patented technology without permission.

The industry giant failed to adhere to the initial 2015 ruling, in which $234 million was the fine ordered by the judge.

Apple continued to use the technology in its devices beyond the 2016 cut off point, resulting in the fine being more than doubled by US District Judge WilliApple patent dispute leads to $506m order from judgeam Conley.

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is the group that sued Apple in 2014, and although the most recently ordered fine is significant, the group had intended for an even more damaging figure of $862 million to be inflicted on Apple.

Despite the second, more severe U.S. legal order, Apple does not intend to pay, choosing instead to launch an appeal against the first decision. The company is set to defend itself on the basis that the patent was not valid.

This is not the first instance in recent times of an Apple patent dispute. Claims were made by Nokia that Apple had in fact infringed several of its patents, and the issue was raised the US International Trade Commission.

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Apple was also defiant in this instance, launching the counter argument that it had experienced overcharging at the hands of Nokia.

READ MORE: IBM patent reveals new way to protect cryptographic keys

While a long and drawn out process may have been expected in this case, it was actually resolved swiftly and effectively. The result was a new multi-year patent license between the two companies; this caused the Nokia share price to experience strong, positive movement on the stock market with investor confidence restored.

The European Commission has also been looking keenly into the likes of Apple and Google under the suspicion of unfair competitive practices. In light of this, the EU intends to set a new plan in place to keep the US giants in check.

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