The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Apple Inc’s. appeal in the potentially $1 billion patent infringement case brought and won against the tech giant by the California Institute of Technology.
In 2016, Caltech filed a lawsuit alleging that Apple and its major chip supplier Broadcom infringed on its patents for signal encoding systems in millions of Apple iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, watches and TVs that relied on Broadcom WiFi components.
Four years later, a U.S. District Court jury found Caltech’s patents were in fact infringed, awarding the school more than $1.1 billion in damages, including interest, with Broadcom ordered to pay $288 million and Apple paying $885 million.
The decision was appealed and mostly upheld but due to faulty jury instructions in Feb. 2022 the U.S. Court of Appeals vacated the verdict in one of the school’s three patent infringement claims and ordered a new trial on that count. The court further found Caltech’s “two-tier damages” theory — which used different royalty rates for each company to calculate the $1.1 billion award, despite the alleged infringement stemming from the same patent technology — should not have been allowed.
Hoping for a whole new trial, Apple and Broadcom appealed the federal court decision to the Supreme Court last September, arguing judges misapplied the law when not allowing the companies to contest the validity of Caltech’ patents. That argument was barred because they failed to raise the validity issue in their original U.S. Patent Office review which sparked the lawsuits.
The Supreme Court’s decision to leave the case off its October Term calendar for the upcoming year follows a U.S. Justice Department brief to the court last month that reviewed Apple’s appeal and recommended it not be heard at the nation’s highest court. In the memo, Solicitor General of the U.S. Elizabeth Prelogar upheld the previous appeals decision, agreeing that the law barring the companies’ defense was correctly applied and finding no further review was warranted.
But while the patent infringement verdict has been decided, the year-long legal battle is not yet over. The outcome on the third patent infringement claim and a determination on the amount of monetary damage Caltech is awarded being re-tried in the U.S. Central District Court of California, with parties currently in the evidentiary hearing stage.