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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple and its Wi-Fi chip supplier Broadcom have reached an agreement with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), putting an end to a years-long legal battle over wireless communication patents, reports Reuters.


The terms of the settlement have not been shared, but Caltech will be dropping its lawsuit against Apple and Broadcom with prejudice, preventing Caltech from refiling in the future.

Caltech sued Apple and Broadcom way back in 2016, accusing the two companies of infringing on a series of Wi-Fi patents covering encoding and decoding circuitry for improving data transmission and performance. The iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch were all targeted in the suit for using Caltech technology.

Apple ended up countersuing in an attempt to have the patents invalidated, a tactic that was unsuccessful. In 2020, a jury decided that Apple and Broadcom had indeed infringed on Caltech's patents, and Apple was ordered to pay $838 million, while Broadcom was told to pay $270 million.

The two companies combined were ordered to pay $1.1 billion, which would have been one of the largest payouts in U.S. history for a patent dispute. Apple and Broadcom appealed the decision, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ultimately decided that while the two companies had infringed on Caltech patents, the damages award was not justified. The prior court had used a two-tier system to award damages based on different royalty rates, which the appeals court said was "legally unsupportable."

A new trial was ordered, which would recalculate the amount that Apple and Broadcom would need to pay to Caltech. Rather than undergoing a second trial, Apple, Broadcom, and Caltech back in August told the court that a potential settlement was in the works, and now the settlement is official.

Article Link: Apple Settles 7-Year Wi-Fi Chip Patent Dispute With Caltech


macrumors newbie
Mar 2, 2016
I find it strange that Apple was involved in the case at all. They were buying Broadcom chips. It was Broadcom who were apparently not respecting the IP. how was Apple supposed to know there were Ip issues at Broadcom?
Apple was selling products that infringe the patents; whether Apple (or Broadcom) knew that the chips were infringing does not matter (although it can affect the amount of damages).

As long as Caltech is only recovering once for each unauthorized sale of an infringing product, it can sue anyone who is either making or selling a product that infringes the patents.

Apple's license from Broadcom may or may not have a provision in which Broadcom agrees to indemnify Apple against any claims of patent infringement arising from Apple's use of Broadcom chips.
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macrumors 65816
Nov 4, 2016
internet warriors side with the small guy and blames the big guys
Usually I want patent trolls to lose BIGLY.

But in this case, the university research may have been legit. And it helps pay the bills.


macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
When has tuition ever gone down at any university?
Some have cut tuition in half

And this isn't the first time colleges have done it either



macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2008
I knew one of the inventors of LDPC, Bob McEliece ( He would have benefited greatly from this, but sadly he passed away during the many years of litigation and settlement.
Presumably his estate will benefit from this settlement, and therefore his heirs and nominees. That’s not the same as living long enough to see the final settlement, but it’s a lot.


macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
I find it strange that Apple was involved in the case at all. They were buying Broadcom chips. It was Broadcom who were apparently not respecting the IP. how was Apple supposed to know there were Ip issues at Broadcom?
Maybe Apple was considered an abettor to Broadcom's infringment because had Apple not bought the patent infringing chips, Broadcom wouldn't have been infringed on the patents? 🤷‍♂️ Apple was likely Broadcom's biggest customer for those chips.


macrumors member
Jan 6, 2004
where do these "confidential settlements" show up on Apple's financial statements? "Legal and Regulatory" ? :cool:
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macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2020
Pretty much no students at Caltech, grad or undergrad, pay for their own tuition. Caltech’s endowment is quite substantial, and now it will be more.
It doesn’t surprise me that Caltech has such a large endowment, especially if they’re getting FRAND patent money.
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