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.