Federal Circ. Panel questions Caltech’s $ 1.1 billion patent victory over Apple and Broadcom


The Apple Inc logo is seen at the entrance to the Apple Store in Brussels, Belgium, July 2, 2021. REUTERS / Yves Herman

  • Broadcom chips in Apple iPhones infringe Caltech’s patents
  • Fed Cir judges express skepticism over patent interpretation and award of damages

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(Reuters) – Two judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit appeared sympathetic on Wednesday to arguments from Apple Inc and Broadcom that the $ 1.1 billion jury at the California Institute of Technology has won its patent infringement claims against them.

U.S. Circuit Judge Timothy Dyk asked whether Apple’s and Broadcom’s Wi-Fi chips actually infringe the patents at issue, while Circuit Judge Alan Lourie said the hypothetical royalty rates used to calculate the price did seemed unreasonable.

The panel, which also included circuit judge Richard Linn, toasted Kathleen Sullivan of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, who represented Caltech, and Bill Lee of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, who argued for Apple and Broadcom, on the good -based on the statement of offense and the award of damages.

Caltech sued Apple and Broadcom in 2016 in federal court in Los Angeles, alleging that Broadcom Wi-Fi chips used in iPhones, iPads, Apple watches and other Apple devices infringe patents related to data transmission technology. A jury found an offense last year and awarded Caltech $ 837.8 million from Apple and $ 270.2 million from Broadcom.

Apple and Broadcom argued on appeal that the case was “filled with errors at every turn” and disputed several aspects of it.

Dyk focused on the ticket during Wednesday’s oral argument, questioning whether the chips from Apple and Broadcom met the Caltech patent requirement to “irregularly repeat” pieces of information.

Dyk said Caltech argued that Apple’s and Broadcom’s chips violate even though the bits on their chips are only “sometimes” repeated.

“My question is, how can this be? How can it work if it only repeats itself sometimes? How is this part of the concept of the invention?” Dyk asked Lee.

“It’s not possible,” Lee replied.

“I find it hard to understand how the idea of ​​bits only occasionally repeating themselves brings them into the claims here,” Dyk said when questioning Sullivan.

“But that’s what makes it an ‘irregular repetition’, it means repeated an irregular or uneven number of times,” Sullivan said.

Lee said Caltech’s counterfeiting theory cannot support “a verdict of this magnitude, nor any verdict.”

Lourie and Dyk both questioned Caltech’s damages model, a royalty rate based on hypothetical negotiations between the parties, asking why the fines on Apple and Broadcom were different when corporate technology was the same.

“What reasonable seller to the public would accept such a different royalty rate for their supplier?” »Says Lourie. “These royalty rates don’t seem reasonable,” Lourie said.

Sullivan replied that it was “entirely reasonable that there should be two different royalty rates for two different defendants selling two different products at two different places in the supply chain.”

“It’s not our situation – it’s the same chip,” Dyk said. “You say that some Broadcom chips require a higher license fee than others, I find it hard to understand how that could be the case.”

Dyk also said that a ruling by U.S. District Judge George Wu banning Apple and Broadcom from making patent invalidity arguments that had not been raised in related inter partes reviews at the Trial Board and patent appeal was “quite problematic”.

The case is California Institute of Technology v. Broadcom Ltd, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 20-2222.

For Apple and Broadcom: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr’s Bill Lee

For Caltech: Kathleen Sullivan of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

Read more:

Caltech Wins $ 1.1 Billion Jury Verdict in Apple and Broadcom Patent Case

Blake brittain

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Contact him at [email protected]

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