Supreme Court declines to hear University of Wisconsin appeal in Apple patent fight

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from the University of Wisconsin’s patent licensing arm to reestablish a legal victory against Apple over technology that the school claimed the company used without permission.

The justices did not review a lower court’s 2018 decision to throw out the $506 million in damages that Apple was made to pay after a jury decided the company infringed the university’s patent in 2015.

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The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) originally filed the suit in 2014, claiming that Apple infringed on its 1998 patent on a “predictor circuit” to boost processing power.

WARF claimed Apple used the technology in processors found in the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, as well as several versions of the iPad.

Apple countered that its processor was separate and distinct, based on specific language in WARF’s patent.

A federal jury in Madison in 2015 ordered Apple pay $234 million in damages, which was later increased to $506 million based on the company's continued infringement through the December 2016 expiration of WARF’s patent.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a specialized patent court located in Washington, ruled last year that based on the “plain and ordinary” meaning of the patent, Apple could not have infringed upon it.

The Supreme Court refused to hear WARF's appeal of that decision.

A spokesperson for WARF told The Hill in a statement that it would continue to pursue damages from Apple.

"While we are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision, we are still pursuing Apple’s infringement in U.S. District Court," they said.

"As the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s patenting and licensing arm, WARF has an obligation to diligently protect the intellectual property rights of our UW-Madison partners, and we look forward to continuing to defend those rights in the District Court."

Updated at 2:11 p.m.