A federal court in US has asked Apple Inc to pay USD 234 million to University of Wisconsin for infringing a patent on microprocessor technology developed by the varsity's researchers, including two Indian-Americans.
The jury found that Apple infringed a Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation-owned (WARF) patent claiming an invention that significantly improves the efficiency and speed of computer processing.
At the end of the two-week-long trial, after the jury concluded Apple's A7, A8 and A8X system on chip designs infringed the asserted claims of the '752 patent, it awarded WARF damages of USD 234 million.
"We believed our technology was ahead of its time," said Professor Gurindar Sohi, University of Wisconsin researcher, who along with three of his then graduate students - Andreas Moshovos, Scott Breach, Terani Vijaykumar had developed the technology which was patented on their behalf by the university.
"Almost two decades ago we tried to anticipate how computers would need to operate today. Our team invested the equivalent of more than 11 years of work to solve this problem," Sohi said in a statement.
Apple, however, said that it planned to appeal the ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles intellectual property cases.
WARF filed the patent infringement suit against the tech-giant Apple in 2014 in federal court in the Western District of Wisconsin.
In its lawsuit WARF alleged that Apple had used the technology to speed computer processing by allowing the efficient out-of-order execution of computer instructions with a data speculation circuit that WARF itself had patented several years earlier.
The US Patent and Trademark Office issued the patent to WARF in 1998 on behalf of UW Madison Computer Science Prof.
Sohi and three graduate students Moshovos, Breach, Vijaykumar.
"This is a case where the hard work of our university researchers and the integrity of patenting and licensing discoveries has prevailed," said Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of WARF.
"The jury recognised the seminal computer processing work that took place on our campus. This decision is great news for the inventors, the University of Wisconsin Madison and for WARF," Gulbrandsen said.
Some of the Apple products that benefited from the WARF patented technology include Apple's A7, A8 and A8X processors which are found in the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, as well as several versions of the iPad.
Apple first introduced the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010.
Both Prof Sohi and Vijaykumar attained their undergraduate degrees from the Birla Institution of Technology and Science in Pilani, Rajasthan, before moving to the US.