Boston University files lawsuit against Apple over technology patent

By on July 3, 2013, 5:00 PM
apple, iphone, ipad, macbook air, lawsuit, patent, patent troll, boston university

An unlikely source has filed a lawsuit against Apple for patent infringement – Boston University. The educational institution previously associated with being a pioneer in social media and an outspoken critic of patent troll litigation claims Apple is actively infringing on a dated patent they own.

The lawsuit claims Apple’s iPad, iPhone and MacBook Air all use a monocrystalline gallium nitride thin film in their semiconductors. It’s this film that Boston University claims they own a patent for which was filed way back in 1995. Specifically, the patent was granted to Theodore D Moustakas and assigned to the Trustees of Boston University in 1997.

The university filed the lawsuit in the Federal District Court in Massachusetts, we’re told. They are seeking financial compensation as well as a ban on sales of the offending devices. If the case goes to trial, Cupertino could be forced to hand over earnings documents from the gadgets that would be used to determine how much money the school would net if successful.

The decision by Boston University to file a patent lawsuit is a bit ironic considering the school published a study in June 2012 pointing out the damage that patent trolls have inflicted. The study found that in 2011, patent trolls cost the US $29 billion in monetary damages – not to mention the fact that they are curbing innovation among small and medium-sized companies.

The authors of the study ultimately found that those in charge should reform the patent system and address patent troll behavior.




User Comments: 25

Got something to say? Post a comment
m4a4 m4a4 said:

They are just hitting the biggest company that is trigger happy with suing...

Holyscrap said:

We are talking billions here. HAHAHAHHA. Saw this article just as I was about to go to sleep. Im gonna have wet dreams. (SAMSUNG must have had the same reaction)

howzz1854 said:

I am actually not surprised. I am a BU alum myself. the school actually holds many patens that pioneered many modern inventions. it still holds the blue LED paten that used to be used in cell phones in the early 2000's. it's Photonic research building holds all kinds of secret research projects. in fact when I went there, the medical research building was one of the main govt contractee for biotech and research for biological viruses. the building had the security of what you would find in high tech govt labs. in a rare chance that if they do win any monetary compensation, they should really put some of that money in renovating the poor art building instead of dumping it into the business school.

2 people like this | lipe123 said:

Sounds like they are just doing ti to prove a point, if they mange to actually pull this off I'd laugh quite a bit at Apple's own "low blow" strategy coming back to bite them.

Guest said:

Wow this one might have some legitimacy.

Guest said:

This goes on with all tech companies, apple is no worse than any other, its only because its the most publicized that people think that...

2 people like this | ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

I assume they aren't patent trolling so much as they are just sending a message to Apple, since Apple is the source of the most patent trolling. In fact, Apple basically single handedly popularized the idea of patent trolling. I suppose that is at least one area of innovation they've had in the past few years...

highlander84 said:

This goes on with all tech companies, apple is no worse than any other, its only because its the most publicized that people think that...

I disagree. Apple is well known for this kind of BS for a good reason. Sure every company does it, but apple goes above and beyond. Then there is the fact that that they charge a ridiculous amount for their products. Whats the best however is, their new ISO7 has many "new" features already found in android ans BB....but everyone seems to think they are the best...

fimbles fimbles said:

Well done apple, reap what you sow.

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

In today's market you can't afford to be as pure as the driven snow although these companies would like you to think that. It's dog eat dog but I'm sure looking forward to the day Apple finally gets it's comeuppance. The sooner the better.

Guest said:

It is interesting how every one thinks how Apple is infringing. Apple is located in cupertino california. There is nothing manufactured there. In fact there is nothing manufactured in America anymore so how could any American company infringe on anything. Last time I checked all flat panels are supplied to crapple I mean Apple. It is crapple since everything comes from China and Taiwan. And thus everything breaks in 2 years that is why you get 1 year warranty. So let me see the part that seems to infringe is what a Samsung Flat panel or LG. So hmmmmm who is actually infringing here. I wonder if this argument can be made in court that the part is not apples they are just used in the product so why should apple be sued for it. Long arm of the law should easily apply here.

Guest said:

It is interesting how every one thinks how Apple is infringing. Apple is located in cupertino california. There is nothing manufactured there. In fact there is nothing manufactured in America anymore so how could any American company infringe on anything. Last time I checked all flat panels are supplied to crapple I mean Apple. It is crapple since everything comes from China and Taiwan. And thus everything breaks in 2 years that is why you get 1 year warranty. So let me see the part that seems to infringe is what a Samsung Flat panel or LG. So hmmmmm who is actually infringing here. I wonder if this argument can be made in court that the part is not apples they are just used in the product so why should apple be sued for it. Long arm of the law should easily apply here.

Apple Reports Second Quarter Results

37.4 Million iPhones Sold; 19.5 Million iPads Sold

CUPERTINO, California---April 23, 2013---Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2013 second quarter ended March 30, 2013. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $43.6 billion and quarterly net profit of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $39.2 billion and net profit of $11.6 billion, or $12.30 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 37.5 percent compared to 47.4 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 66 percent of the quarter's revenue.

MAYBE YOU WANT TO COMMENT ON NOT MANUFACTURED IN USA BUT BENEFITED APPLE

1 person liked this | Capaill said:

"In fact there is nothing manufactured in America anymore so how could any American company infringe on anything"

There is a difference between manufacturing and designing. The design and product is owned by Apple which is based in the US. That other patent was protected in the US. Ergo, Apple may have stolen someone's patented invention.

Also, Apple are building a massive factory in the US so that in future they won't need to outsource manufacturing to China, etc.

I do love seeing Apple feeling the sharp pointy end of patent litigation.

MrAnderson said:

There is a big difference between patent trolls and legitimate claims. Educational institutions have research arms that usually are responsible for developing new technologies. This is one of their funding sources. It helps grease the wheels and keep them turning. Why they took so long is another matter. But if Apple is using a patented technology I'm sure there is a fair way to handle it.

Guest said:

I don't understand why you all are so against Apple! Why don't you all this energy on some thing worth while like windows selling the crap they sell at the prices they do every time you need something to work you have to spend more money and guess what after all the spending and fixing or paying someone to setup your PC you still have a piece of junk in my own opinion sorry but at least I can say one thing for Apple it works right out of the box and keeps on ticking.

pmshah said:

"In fact there is nothing manufactured in America anymore so how could any American company infringe on anything"

There is a difference between manufacturing and designing. The design and product is owned by Apple which is based in the US. That other patent was protected in the US. Ergo, Apple may have stolen someone's patented invention.

Also, Apple are building a massive factory in the US so that in future they won't need to outsource manufacturing to China, etc.

I do love seeing Apple feeling the sharp pointy end of patent litigation.

Do you know the first iPhone was entirely designed in India and so are all the DSPs by Texas Instruments ?

highlander84 said:

I don't understand why you all are so against Apple! Why don't you all this energy on some thing worth while like windows selling the crap they sell at the prices they do every time you need something to work you have to spend more money and guess what after all the spending and fixing or paying someone to setup your PC you still have a piece of junk in my own opinion sorry but at least I can say one thing for Apple it works right out of the box and keeps on ticking.

well here are a few good reasons.... not my work but its a very clear picture.

[link]

Guest said:

highlander84 said:

I don't understand why you all are so against Apple! Why don't you all this energy on some thing worth while like windows selling the crap they sell at the prices they do every time you need something to work you have to spend more money and guess what after all the spending and fixing or paying someone to setup your PC you still have a piece of junk in my own opinion sorry but at least I can say one thing for Apple it works right out of the box and keeps on ticking.

well here are a few good reasons.... not my work but its a very clear picture.

Well at least Apple don't charge 400 dollars for their crapy insecure windows and give it away free in africa where most of the email scams come from. (Windows?)

highlander84 said:

highlander84 said:

I don't understand why you all are so against Apple! Why don't you all this energy on some thing worth while like windows selling the crap they sell at the prices they do every time you need something to work you have to spend more money and guess what after all the spending and fixing or paying someone to setup your PC you still have a piece of junk in my own opinion sorry but at least I can say one thing for Apple it works right out of the box and keeps on ticking.

well here are a few good reasons.... not my work but its a very clear picture.

Well at least Apple don't charge 400 dollars for their crapy insecure windows and give it away free in africa where most of the email scams come from. (Windows?)

I think this is not really a valid argument...If Apple were not so greedy and gave their OS (with hardware of course because their "bundled" ... Then the same exact thing would happen from the apple platform. So I fail to see how this is a strike against Microsoft. FYI I paid 15$ for my Windows 8 License key...a far cry from 400...Most people who buy a new computer will have this fee included in the hardware...

Guest said:

Well again you made a good point I bought windows 8 Pro for another PC for $39 and that was because windows had know Idea whether it was going to take off and sell or not I was trying 8 out all along it's way to perfection if you can call it that. they finally convinced some PC users this is the OS state of the Art and now windows 8 Pro is $199. In My own opinion windows 7 was just fine but thats windows problem they can't build on one good solid platform and just improve it they have to mess the whole thing up.

And your right about one thing PC users will be PC users

And Mac Users Will Be Mac Users

And that will never change

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well again you made a good point I bought windows 8 Pro for another PC for $39 and that was because windows had know Idea whether it was going to take off and sell or not I was trying 8 out all along it's way to perfection if you can call it that. they finally convinced some PC users this is the OS state of the Art and now windows 8 Pro is $199. In My own opinion windows 7 was just fine but thats windows problem they can't build on one good solid platform and just improve it they have to mess the whole thing up.
Just one quick question. How did this turn into a Windows versus Apple joust?

As near as I can tell, M$ isn't suing Apple, Boston University is.

The furthest one off the reservation is a rotten egg.Which serves to explain how you pulled the short straw and got quoted.

killeriii said:

Did Boston U forget they held this patent for the last 6 years that the iphone has been on sale? Or were they just waiting till the money was right for them? Or is this something new in the A6?

I would also like to know how they knew Apple was using a monocrystalline gallium nitride thin film in their semiconductors.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Did Boston U forget they held this patent for the last 6 years that the iphone has been on sale? Or were they just waiting till the money was right for them? Or is this something new in the A6?

I would also like to know how they knew Apple was using a monocrystalline gallium nitride thin film in their semiconductors.

Maybe they took one apart and shoved it under their electron microscope. Why do you ask? Are you one of Apple's lawyers?

The reason I ask is, Apple is the one being sued, and you seem to be the one with the hurt feelings....:oops:

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

... Are you one of Apple's lawyers?

... you seem to be the one with the hurt feelings

Here I am under the impression, lawyers win either way. Win or lose, do they not make sure they collect?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Here I am under the impression, lawyers win either way. Win or lose, do they not make sure they collect?
Point taken. Ticks, cockroaches, and lawyers will all survive Armageddon, (basically they're all the same species), but they'll have nothing to feed off, and die out. And then boys and girls, in another 300 or so million years, the new "dominant species" will be pouring them into their gas tanks.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.