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Apple and Broadcom settle Wi-Fi patent lawsuit with Caltech

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Caltech, short for the California Institute of Technology, has resolved a lengthy legal dispute with Apple and Broadcom regarding Wi-Fi chip patents, which commenced in 2016, according to a report from Reuters. In a formal statement, Caltech indicated that it is permanently dismissing the case, preventing any future filings.

The litigation had a series of twists and turns. Initially, Caltech asserted that numerous Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads, Watches, and others featuring Broadcom chips, infringed upon its Wi-Fi-related patents. In the initial phase, Caltech secured a jury award of $1.1 billion, with Apple directed to pay Caltech $837.8 million and Broadcom an additional $270.2 million.

Nonetheless, Apple lodged an appeal, and a federal appeals court subsequently overturned the verdict, citing its lack of legal support. Specifically, the court rejected Caltech’s argument that it could have negotiated licenses with both Broadcom and Apple for the same chips.

Subsequently, the jury called for a new trial, while also affirming the original jury’s findings that both Apple and Broadcom had violated two of Caltech’s patents. This trial was scheduled for June, but it was indefinitely postponed. In August of the same year, the parties informed the court that they had reached a potential settlement, although no further details were disclosed.

These patents relate to technology critical for the 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards, even though the inventor mentioned that they were not initially developed for Wi-Fi, but rather for data transmission technology. Broadcom continues to be a significant supplier to Apple, having recently signed a $15 billion agreement to provide chips for forthcoming iPhones and other Apple products. Caltech also recently settled a similar lawsuit with Samsung and still has pending Wi-Fi patent cases against Microsoft, Dell, and HP.

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