Apple ordered to write a $234m check to uni in A7 chip patent spat

Cook counts out pocket change to cover out-of-order suit


A jury has today awarded the University of Wisconsin a $234m payday from Apple after the iGiant ripped off the college's processor design patent.

Earlier this week, a district court in Madison, Wisconsin, said Apple's A7 system-on-chip in its iPhones and iPads infringed a patent belonging to the university's Wisconsin Alumni Research Fund (WARF).

The patent, granted in 1998, describes a table-like structure for CPUs to use when tracking data dependencies amid out-of-order program instruction execution (which is not an easy thing to type on a Friday afternoon).

The jury awarded the university just $234m (£151m) of the $400m (£259m) sought by WARF, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Apple's A7 CPU is a custom implementation of ARM's 64-bit ARMv8-a architecture. In other words, this is Apple's screwup involving its own built-from-scratch processor, and not a problem for ARM, which simply licensed its A64 instruction set to Apple.

The A7 powers the iPhone 5S as well as the iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, and iPad Mini 3 tablets.

The $234m award, sizable as it may be, is not a damaging sum for moneybags Apple to cough up – assuming Apple doesn't successfully overturn the decision on appeal.

In its first weekend on the market, in 2014, the iPhone 5S shifted more than 9 million units, and in the quarter after the 5S was released, Apple reported a profit of $13.1bn. ®


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