Top 5 patents dispute to know about between tech companies

The issue of patent infringement is very important for many industries including the the tech sector. In this article, we have listed some of the popular cases of patent disputes between tech companies. Read the article for more details.

In today's ever-evolving and innovative landscape, safeguarding intellectual property holds greater significance than ever. Patents serve as paramount instruments for shielding inventor's concepts and advancements, while also fostering technological advancement. In other words, a patent is a governmental grant of legal rights to an inventor offering exclusive control over their invention or product for a defined duration. This authority enables the inventor to prohibit the unauthorized making, using, selling, or distributing of their invention by others.

In essence, a patent is a document that grants ownership of an invention. Inventions are products, designs, or processes that solve a technical problem using a novel methodology. Generally, patents last for 20 years after filing. In addition to becoming a valuable commercial tool, patent protection can be an important investment in technology for many businesses. It is possible that every business has a technology or invention that is worth protecting and that can be invaluable to the company. It also facilitates the scientific community's access to advancements, accelerating the nation's growth and advancement. Apart from this, owners of patents have the option to license their patents to businesses by providing permission to utilize or produce the patented inventions often in exchange for royalties or other forms of compensation. The patentees can sell their proprietary inventions and receive a one-time transfer payment in exchange for transferring their patent rights.

Throughout history, numerous prominent patent infringement cases have shaped decisions related to patent invalidation, the conditions for issuing injunctions, the differentiation between repairing and reconstructing a patented product, and notably the doctrine of patent exhaustion and its implementation.

Well, we are not here to discuss these implementations and changes made in the laws and countries for patent rights but to highlight a few important cases related to patents between tech companies.

Top 5 Patent Disputes Between Tech Companies

1. Apple-Caltech Patent Lawsuit

Broadcom and Apple were accused of infringing on Caltech's patent for wireless communications in 2016 when the lawsuit was originally filed. According to Caltech, millions of iPhones, iPads, Apple watches, and other Apple devices use Broadcom chips that infringe its patent for wireless communication. Later, Apple filed a countersuit against Caltech in an attempt to challenge the patent validity. A jury found Apple liable for $837.8 million and Broadcom for $270.2 million in 2020. However, these payments were reversed by a federal appeals court in 2021.

Later in October 2023, Caltech agreed on a settlement with Apple and Broadcom to end the patent lawsuit. Both sides, however, did not reveal much about this 'potential' settlement. Caltech, the California Institute of Technology, has also filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, Dell, and HP over its WiFi patents with pending cases.

2. VLSI Vs Intel

This case is considered one of the -largest infringement cases in the history of the US. In March 2021, VLSI Technology which obtained patents from NXP Semiconductor secured a $2.18 billion verdict against the chip giant Intel. According to VLSI's claims, Intel violated two of its patents concerning power management and clock speeds in its processor. In December last year, a US appeal court overturned the award of $2.18 billion against Intel due to multiple patent infringements. This is not the first time Intel has been sued for patent infringement by VLSI. Two companies also agreed to settle a $4 billion patent dispute back to 2018 in 2022.

3. Apple Vs Optis

The Standard Essential Patent (SEP) controversy has been a focus of Apple and Optis' international litigation since 2019. A suit against Apple was filed on 26 February 2019 by Optis in English Patents court. Patents that Optis claims are essential to certain technological standards, such as 4G are being used. The tech giant had allegedly infringed two of Optis 4G patents that the High Court of London deemed standard essential patents. Consequently, there was an appeal against the London High Court's decision by Apple arguing that the two patents in issue were not essential to 4G standards. The latest ruling from 2023 found Apple INC to have infringed on two telecommunication patents and dismissed the company's appeal.

4. Apple Inc Vs Samsung Electronics Co

Samsung was warned by Apple in 2010 that Apple patents were being infringed. The patent battle began in 2011 when Apple accused the Korean company of slavishly imitating the iPhone designs. In response, Samsung sued Apple for infringement of Samsung's software patents accusing it of violating Samsung's patent. Multiple cases were filed on multiple patents and the litigation went on for the years. During one of their trials in 2014, a jury even found that both companies infringed each other's patents. Samsung was eventually ordered to pay Apple $539 million as damages for copying the original iPhone in 2018 after a trail of hearings. Samsung paid the amount after both companies agreed to drop their lawsuits outside of the US after a long battle of around 7 years.

5. Centripetal Vs Cisco

Centripetal sued Cisco in 2018, for patent infringement related to its technology for blocking security threats from entering a computer network.
In December 2023, Centripetal Network's appeal to reinstate a $2.75 billion award against Cisco in a cybersecurity patent dispute was denied by the US Supreme Court. It was the largest patent award in US history.

This was the same court where in 2020 Centripetal was awarded 2.75 billion by another judge. The federal appeal court later overturned the award due to the previous judge's wife owning Cisco stock.

Final Words

So, these were just a few patent infringement cases from the tech industry. Several notable cases throughout history have shaped patent law and the tech industry. This also highlights that patent infringement is a very common practice in the tech sector. These cases often result in significant outcomes for the involved companies and the patent system as a whole. Not only this, these cases also outline the importance of patents in the tech sector.


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