New lawsuit says Apple infringed on tech used in Apple silicon chips

Apple New M1 Chip
Apple New M1 Chip (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • A new lawsuit has been filed against Apple relating to patent infringement.
  • The lawsuit says Apple's A-Series and M-Series chips infringe on patents held by Future Link Systems.

A non-practicing entity called Future Link Systems is claiming that the custom Apple silicon that runs the iPhone, iPad, and new Mac computers infringes on their patents.

As reported by Appleinsider, The compliant alleges that the A-Series and M-Series processors both infringe on patents that focus on "improvements in electronic circuitry" and that the company moved forward with the chips despite meeting with Future Link to discuss the issue.

According to the lawsuit, Future Link Systems penned a letter to Apple asserting the infringement in April 2018. Apple and Future Link met in May, and later that year, the Cupertino company presented non-infringement arguments to the patents. The plaintiff claims that even after continued back and forth correspondence Apple "refused to discuss appropriate terms for a license."Each patent focuses on a particular aspect of circuit design for electronic devices like computers or smartphones. The '804 patent, for example, focuses on a concurrent serial interconnect within an integrated circuit device. Two of the patents focus on interconnect test units for circuits, and the '680 patent details a communications arrangement for packet data control.

The same entity had also settled a similar lawsuit with Intel back in 2017.

Apple isn't the first major chipmaker that Future Link Systems has targeted. In 2017, Intel resolved a patent dispute with the non-practicing entity by agreeing to a confidential settlement. That patent lawsuit indicated that Intel owed about $10 billion in damages for allegedly infringing on Future Link's intellectual property, while Intel put the price closer to $10 million, Law360 reported in August 2017.

The suit contends that Apple "has been willfully blind to its infringement" of the patents that the entity holds. The company is seeking a trial by jury, wants a permanent injunction on Apple infringing on the patents, damages, costs, and relief.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.