Caltech files suit against Apple over Wi-Fi technology patents

The California Institute of Technology, also known as Caltech, has filed a legal complaint against Apple and Broadcom, alleging that various Apple products violate some of Caltech's Wi-Fi patents. The school believes that the iPhone 5 and newer, along with other devices utilizing Broadcom Wi-Fi hardware, infringe on four of its patents relating to encoding and decoding

From Patently Apple (via MacRumors):

The formal complaint's mention of Apple states in-part that "Apple manufactures, uses, imports, offers for sale, and/or sells Wi-Fi products that incorporate IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and infringe the Asserted Patents. Apple products that incorporate IRA/LDPC encoders and/or decoders and infringe the Asserted Patents include, but are not limited to, the following: iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5, iPad Air, IPad Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad Mini 4, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 2, MacBook Air, Apple Watch" and other products.

Caltech's is the latest lawsuit brought against Apple for the technology in its products. The company is in an ongoing battle with patent holder VirnetX over technology behind FaceTime and iMessage.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

10 Comments
  • Colleges should not be allowed to file patents. There. I said it.
  • Do you think it should then go back to the way it was before the Bah-Dole Act and have the government own said patents?
  • No, the students and faculty members who were involved in the creation of such technology should be the holders of the patent. Not the university itself.
  • They own the patent on something they most likely will never take to market ever so this is just an idea. They can sit on the patent for years and try to collet money. The patent system is so broken. The company should be forced to show a product and their loss from someone using their patent. This only hurts technology companies.
  • I could not agree more with this.
  • Just because they themselves may not market a product, they can licence it for use by someone else, and perhaps they do. That would be worth money.
  • Sigh. Lots of good R&D is done by entities who lack the ability to manufacture and market products, which in this tech-driven and global economy costs billions of dollars. The days when a single parent like Joy Mangano could become a tycoon by making a better mop - or when guys like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates could start tech companies in their garage - are over. A lot of the ideas are things that the big companies are never going to pursue because A) their bureaucratic nature squashes good ideas and B) they are bad for the existing products. Take alternative/renewable energy. Regardless of your position on global warming, environmentalism etc. you have to acknowledge that the last thing that a company that is making tens of billions of dollars a year on oil/coal/natural gas will invest in is something that will drive the cost of their main product down by lowering its demand while its supply remains constant or increases, and as a result will cost them far more profits than they would ever make with renewables. So, that is why a university or a small R&D company would do the research that fossil fuel companies would only go through the motions of for PR purposes. Also look at mobile: note that none of the key innovations in that area came from Microsoft or Intel. Why? Not because of a lack of talent, as Wintel was hiring the best talent in the world. It was that any idea in that area that anyone would have had from 2000-2010 would have gotten shot down by the partnership that had ridden PCs to be the richest and most powerful ones in the world. Why would they start messing around with low-margin ARM CPUs and/or $5 apps when Intel was getting great margins on x86 CPUs and Microsoft was selling software suites that cost hundreds of dollars? Instead, having a bunch of small players working on ideas for the bigger players to license helps tech companies. It especially helps tech companies who are willing to innovate get even bigger. Apple used a ton of IP from companies who didn't manufacture products based on the IP to create the iPhone, and in the process topple Wintel, Nokia and a bunch of other market leaders from their perch. Remove the ability of these small players to make money off their research and these small players won't exist anymore.
  • This patent trolling is getting ridiculous, but Apple is finding out what goes around comes around. Sent from the iMore App
  • Patent trolling is when an entity A) buys patents from a second defunct or other obsolete entity for the sole purpose of profiteering off their IP claims, and/or B) files patents that are intentionally vague or broad for the express purposes of making money off a product that kinda sorta fits in some general way. In both cases the troll will often "offer to settle" for a flat fee rather than actually go to court or work out a licensing agreement. Apple - a real company who does actual R&D plus sells products - is no patent troll. Neither are universities, who do legit and very expensive R&D, often in areas where companies are unwilling to invest because of the low likelihood of a quick return. Instead, what people dislike about Apple is their guarding their UI/UX and aesthetics IP like a hawk while infringing on basic hardware patents used to implement their IP left and right. Either that or they run roughshod over the basic hardware suppliers, often pressuring them into deals so bad that the suppliers wind up losing money on them and going out of business. The reason: Apple doesn't do a lot of basic hardware stuff so they regard it as unimportant and interchangeable. In their eyes, only the stuff that they value and promote as the key differentiator in their products is worthy of IP protection and premium pricing. If it is not hypocritical, it is at the very least self-serving.
  • Sigh. People pounding their fists and demanding for "patent reform" that will result in Apple winning every case. Reform patents in a way that Apple will bleed dry and obtain product bans against everyone they sue, and that everyone who sues Apple will not only lose, but also have to pay Apple's legal fees and have their own products removed from the market and their IP transferred to Apple as punishment!