U.S. Solicitor General Urges Supreme Court to Reject Apple and Broadcom’s Appeal in Landmark Patent Infringement Case
In a significant development today, U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar has strongly advised the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal filed by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Broadcom Inc. (NASDAQ: AVGO). This appeal arises from their colossal $1.1 billion trial loss to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in a high-stakes patent infringement case.
Solicitor General Prelogar affirmed the correctness of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s ruling last year. The court had concluded that Apple and Broadcom could not challenge the validity of Caltech’s patents in court. This decision was based on the fact that Apple had failed to raise its arguments regarding the patents’ invalidity during the U.S. Patent Office review process.
Representatives for Caltech, Apple, Broadcom, and the solicitor general’s office have not immediately responded to requests for comment as of Wednesday.
The legal battle originated in 2016 when Caltech, headquartered in Pasadena, California, filed a lawsuit against Apple and Broadcom in a federal court in Los Angeles. The institute accused the companies of infringing upon its data-transmission patents through millions of iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and other devices equipped with Broadcom Wi-Fi chips.
Furthermore, Caltech has also initiated separate legal actions against Microsoft Corp, Samsung Electronics Co, Dell Technologies Inc, and HP Inc for allegedly infringing upon the same patents. These cases are currently awaiting resolution.
In 2020, a jury delivered a verdict in favor of Caltech, ordering Apple to compensate the institute with a staggering sum of $837.8 million, while Broadcom was directed to pay $270.2 million. However, the Federal Circuit expressed concerns about the amount awarded and consequently remanded the case for a fresh trial on damages, which is yet to be scheduled.
Apple and Broadcom had argued before the Federal Circuit that they should have been permitted to challenge the patents’ validity during the trial. Nevertheless, the appeals court upheld the decision to bar the invalidity arguments, citing Apple’s failure to raise them in previous petitions for patent office review.
The companies contended that the Federal Circuit misinterpreted the law, asserting that it solely restricts arguments that could have been presented during the review process itself.
In response to these arguments, Solicitor General Prelogar has supported the Federal Circuit’s interpretation of the law, reinforcing the court’s decision as correct and appropriate.