U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear University of Wisconsin's Appeal in Patent Lawsuit Against Apple

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The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear the University of Wisconsin's appeal in its patent fight with Apple, according to Reuters.


In July 2017, a U.S. district court ordered Apple to pay $506 million to the University of Wisconsin's Alumni Research Foundation for infringing on a patent related to computer processing technology with its A7, A8, and A8X chips.

In September 2018, however, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the damages that Apple had been ordered to pay, ruling that no reasonable juror could have been able to find infringement based on the evidence that was presented in the liability phase of the original 2015 trial.

The decision comes on the first day of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2019 term.

Article Link: U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear University of Wisconsin's Appeal in Patent Lawsuit Against Apple
 

gnasher729

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Just repeating from the previous round: Apple did something that is reasonably _similar_ to what the university had patented, but _not the same_. Definitely not the same. Not even sometimes the same. And since it's not the same, Apple never infringed on the university's patent, and therefore doesn't have to pay damages. Doing something that is similar to a patented invention is absolutely fine.
 

cmaier

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Just repeating from the previous round: Apple did something that is reasonably _similar_ to what the university had patented, but _not the same_. Definitely not the same. Not even sometimes the same. And since it's not the same, Apple never infringed on the university's patent, and therefore doesn't have to pay damages. Doing something that is similar to a patented invention is absolutely fine.
Except for the Doctrine of Equivalents.
But yes.
- - Post merged: - -

Just goes to show that court judges are just people who can have different opinions
How does it show that? All the judges had the same opinion. They disagreed with the jury.
 

realtuner

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Didn’t Intel settle with WARF over this many years ago? Perhaps @cmaier could chime in on this?

Did they settle because it was easier/cheaper or did they settle because they felt they infringed and would likely lose in court?

Has WARF ever gone after ARM, Samsung or Qualcomm over these patents? If not, why go after Apples ARM compatible processors and not others? I have an idea...
 
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cmaier

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Didn’t Intel settle with WARF over this many years ago? Perhaps @cmaier could chime in on this?

Did they settle because it was easier/cheaper or did they settle because they felt they infringed and would likely lose in court?

Has WARF ever gone after ARM, Samsung or Qualcomm over these patents? If not, why go after Apples ARM compatible processors and not others? I have an idea...
WARF sued Intel and they settled.

Looking at the claims ,which are directed at load/store scheduling, seems to me possible that some ARM chips could infringe and others not. Seems like the scheduling microarchitecture isn't automatically determined by the instruction set architecture - you can do it lots of ways, or none at all. I have no idea what's in ARM's own reference designs though.

The issue is that Apple uses a hashing algorithm for memory load prediction where each entry is a load tag and a prediction. Each tag is a hash of the instruction address. Since it's a hash, the same tag can apply to many different instructions.

There is some claim language in the patent that the courts say require the tag to correspond to a "particular instruction." The courts say that since the tag could correspond to multiple instructions, it doesn't correspond to the "particular" instruction, and hence no infringement. Or something like that - I read the patent very quickly, so I could be missing something.
 

oneMadRssn

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however, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the damages that Apple had been ordered to pay, ruling that no reasonable juror could have been able to find infringement based on the evidence that was presented in the liability phase of the original 2015 trial.
Setting the facts of the present case aside, the CAFC does this way too often, and it really bothers me. Whether or not there is infringement and how much is owed are facts, not legal questions, and in jury trials decisions of fact should be left to the jury unless there is some clearly inexplicable injustice occurring. But the CAFC has a pattern of overruling the jury at a much higher rate than is reasonable. It indicates they are perhaps making outcome-driven decisions, rather than fair rulings. There are countless legal articles using pretty inflammatory language about the CAFC, such as accusing the CAFC of being anti-jury or verdict killers.
 

cmaier

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Setting the facts of the present case aside, the CAFC does this way too often, and it really bothers me. Whether or not there is infringement and how much is owed are facts, not legal questions, and in jury trials decisions of fact should be left to the jury unless there is some clearly inexplicable injustice occurring. But the CAFC has a pattern of overruling the jury at a much higher rate than is reasonable. It indicates they are perhaps making outcome-driven decisions, rather than fair rulings. There are countless legal articles using pretty inflammatory language about the CAFC, such as accusing the CAFC of being anti-jury or verdict killers.
Um, no.
 

cmaier

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I suppose I should be less flippant.

Obviously there are facts underpinning any finding of infringement, but whether or not a patent is infringed is a mixed question of law and fact. For example, what the words in the patent claim mean is a question of law, not of fact, and can only be determined by a judge. If a judge says “particular” means “the one” and a jury decides that “the ten” are the same as “particular,” it’s a good idea for a judge to say “nope.”

The CAFC serves a very important purpose of bringing some degree of uniformity to how the patent laws are interpreted. Otherwise, each judge could do things differently, and people would go around forum shopping to get the judge/court they want.

And, in this case, the supreme court seems to have agreed with the CAFC, at least to the extent they didn’t think the CAFC got anything so fundamentally wrong that required the Supreme Court to get involved.
 
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Kabeyun

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Setting the facts of the present case aside, the CAFC does this way too often, and it really bothers me. Whether or not there is infringement and how much is owed are facts, not legal questions, and in jury trials decisions of fact should be left to the jury unless there is some clearly inexplicable injustice occurring. But the CAFC has a pattern of overruling the jury at a much higher rate than is reasonable. It indicates they are perhaps making outcome-driven decisions, rather than fair rulings. There are countless legal articles using pretty inflammatory language about the CAFC, such as accusing the CAFC of being anti-jury or verdict killers.
If the jury’s verdict is egregiously not supported by the facts, judges have always had liberty to set aside a verdict at trial or overrule a verdict on appeal.
 

oneMadRssn

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If the jury’s verdict is egregiously not supported by the facts, judges have always had liberty to set aside a verdict at trial or overrule a verdict on appeal.
I know, and I never said judge's can't or shouldn't do that. But the CAFC does this at a much higher rate than any other appeals court. Outliers like that are always worth looking at critically.

I'm not saying it's impossible that a jury makes a baseless finding of fact, and a trial judge denies a renewed motion for judgement as a matter of law (effectively, the trial judge affirms the jury's finding). I'm just saying that the CAFC overrules decisions found by the jury and deemed reasonable by a trial judge a bit too often for comfort.
 

Kabeyun

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I know, and I never said judge's can't or shouldn't do that. But the CAFC does this at a much higher rate than any other appeals court. Outliers like that are always worth looking at critically.

I'm not saying it's impossible that a jury makes a baseless finding of fact, and a trial judge denies a renewed motion for judgement as a matter of law (effectively, the trial judge affirms the jury's finding). I'm just saying that the CAFC overrules decisions found by the jury and deemed reasonable by a trial judge a bit too often for comfort.
Even if that’s accurate, and I do t know that it is, isn’t it possible that there’s a legitimate reason, other than arbitrarily being “anti-jury”? Frinstance, perhaps judges whose verdicts it hears on appeal tend to be less effective at charging their juries?
 

oneMadRssn

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Even if that’s accurate, and I do t know that it is, isn’t it possible that there’s a legitimate reason, other than arbitrarily being “anti-jury”? Frinstance, perhaps judges whose verdicts it hears on appeal tend to be less effective at charging their juries?
I've looked at the stats on Lex Machina, which an amazing IP litigation analytics platform, and there doesn't seem to be a correlation between which jury verdicts the CAFC overturns and which judges those cases come from. Rate of overturning is generally consistent with the rates of cases various districts see and send up. Then again, there may not be enough data to show a pattern.

To be clear, I don't think the CAFC is anti-jury per se. I think either (1) many CAFC judges believe that contrary to a century of precedent the question of infringement and infringement damages are legal determination rather than a factual ones, or more cynically (2) the CAFC has a general anti-patent view/agenda in that their rulings tend to be defendant-friendly, reducing the value of patents, or putting up new barriers to plaintiffs.

Part of the blame, I think, is on Congress for failing to legislate on any of the big issues in IP law. The AIA was a decent start, but it left some gaping holes and introduced some new unintended consequences. But there's been no real movement to address any of it.
 

cmaier

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I've looked at the stats on Lex Machina, which an amazing IP litigation analytics platform, and there doesn't seem to be a correlation between which jury verdicts the CAFC overturns and which judges those cases come from. Rate of overturning is generally consistent with the rates of cases various districts see and send up. Then again, there may not be enough data to show a pattern.

To be clear, I don't think the CAFC is anti-jury per se. I think either (1) many CAFC judges believe that contrary to a century of precedent the question of infringement and infringement damages are legal determination rather than a factual ones, or more cynically (2) the CAFC has a general anti-patent view/agenda in that their rulings tend to be defendant-friendly, reducing the value of patents, or putting up new barriers to plaintiffs.

Part of the blame, I think, is on Congress for failing to legislate on any of the big issues in IP law. The AIA was a decent start, but it left some gaping holes and introduced some new unintended consequences. But there's been no real movement to address any of it.
It’s the Supreme Court who says it’s not a purely factual determination. That’s what Markman was about.
 

oneMadRssn

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It’s the Supreme Court who says it’s not a purely factual determination. That’s what Markman was about.
That's not correct; Markman doesn't say that.

Markman says that determining infringement is a two step process: first you construe the claims, and second you apply the construed claims to the accused product. According to Markman, the first step, claim construction, which defines the meaning of the claims is a legal conclusion and thus properly decided by judges. And the second step, applying the construed claims, is a factual determination made by a fact-finder, i.e., a jury in most patent cases. Further, Markman did not say anything about damages calculations, which have always been in the purview of a jury in all civil matters and there is a mountain of Supreme Court precedent accordingly.

I have no issue with the CAFC overturning trial judges' incorrect claim constructions - per Markman. But I do have an issue with the CAFC overturning the factual determinations made by juries, applying the claims and making damages awards.
 

cmaier

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That's not correct; Markman doesn't say that.

Markman says that determining infringement is a two step process: first you construe the claims, and second you apply the construed claims to the accused product. According to Markman, the first step, claim construction, which defines the meaning of the claims is a legal conclusion and thus properly decided by judges. And the second step, applying the construed claims, is a factual determination made by a fact-finder, i.e., a jury in most patent cases. Further, Markman did not say anything about damages calculations, which have always been in the purview of a jury in all civil matters and there is a mountain of Supreme Court precedent accordingly.

I have no issue with the CAFC overturning trial judges' incorrect claim constructions - per Markman. But I do have an issue with the CAFC overturning the factual determinations made by juries, applying the claims and making damages awards.
But that’s what happened here. The fight was over the meaning of the term “particular” and whether it was so broad as to encompass a hashed value that could point not only to a given address, but to many other addresses as well. The CAFC order goes into some detail as to the claim construction issue, and what the plain and ordinary meaning of the term is. That was the essence of the fight.
 

oneMadRssn

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But that’s what happened here. The fight was over the meaning of the term “particular” and whether it was so broad as to encompass a hashed value that could point not only to a given address, but to many other addresses as well. The CAFC order goes into some detail as to the claim construction issue, and what the plain and ordinary meaning of the term is. That was the essence of the fight.
That's fair and fine.

As I said in my first post, "setting the facts of the present case aside...," I responded to the OP's line about the CAFC throwing out a damages award and ruling on infringement. Regardless of what happened in this case, it is still true that the CAFC inserts their own judgement against that of the jury and trial judge way too often for comfort.