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Supreme Court Dismisses Apple-Broadcom Appeal in Caltech Patent Infringement Case

The United States Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Apple Inc and Broadcom Inc in their ongoing battle against Caltech's billion-dollar patent infringement lawsuit.

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Supreme Court Rejects Apple-Broadcom Appeal

The United States Supreme Court this Monday denied a request by Apple Inc and Broadcom Inc to reconsider their challenges to patents held by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This latest development is part of a broader patent infringement lawsuit, wherein a $1.1 billion jury verdict against the two tech giants was earlier dismissed. Apple and Broadcom had sought to contest the validity of these patents as part of their defense strategy against Caltech's litigation.

Prior Verdicts Against Apple and Broadcom Upheld

The Supreme Court upheld the decision of a lower court, which had affirmed a trial judge's ruling to prohibit the companies from disputing the validity of the patents. This decision was based on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's earlier ruling, which concluded that the companies' arguments were unconvincing as they had failed to present them during prior proceedings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Damages Reevaluation: Apple and Broadcom Penalized

A jury had previously determined that the companies had infringed on Caltech's patents, subsequently mandating Apple and Broadcom to pay $837.8 million and $270.2 million respectively. However, the Federal Circuit contested the damage awards, resulting in the case being redirected for a fresh trial on damages.

Caltech, based in Pasadena, California, had originally sued Apple and Broadcom in 2016, alleging patent infringement on a range of popular devices. Millions of iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and other devices that utilize Broadcom's Wi-Fi chips were reportedly in violation of Caltech's data-transmission patents.

Business Relationship Between Apple and Broadcom

Apple, a major customer of Broadcom, had in 2020, inked a $15 billion supply agreement which ends in 2023. The tech giant reportedly accounts for about 20% of Broadcom's revenue.

The companies claimed that the Federal Circuit misinterpreted the law, arguing that it only prohibits contentions that could have been raised during the patent review process. The Biden administration, however, encouraged the Supreme Court justices in May to reject the case, arguing that the Federal Circuit had correctly interpreted the law.

In a related development, Caltech has also filed lawsuits against other tech powerhouses including Microsoft Corp, Samsung Electronics Co, Dell Technologies Inc, and HP Inc. These separate lawsuits, which are still pending, accuse the companies of infringing the same patents.