Recently a federal jury has found that Apple infringed on a patent owned by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) for the A9 processors that were installed in the iPhone 6s. On Oct. 16, 2015, at the end of a two-week trial, the jury awarded WARF damages of $234 million.
WARF claimed that Apple had used their innovative technology to speed computer processing with a data speculation circuit that WARF had patented several years earlier. WARF filed this patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1998.
As a student at Union College, how does this affect you? Well, if you are an iPhone user, beware. Nothing is official yet as Apple is opting to appeal the decision to another level of courts. However, if Apple ultimately loses this battle, the next batch of iPhone 6s produced will not be able to use the same A9 processors. This means that if you buy an iPhone 6s after the lawsuit, it could have a different processor than the one you have now.
This can lead to multiple implications: if Apple is able to come up with a better processor, the new phones will run faster, but if the new processor is worse, the new iPhones could be potentially much slower.
Another implication with the patent lawsuit is that Apple will not be able to resell any iPhones with the A9 processors in them. That also means they will not be buying back, or doing any “trade-in deals” with old iPhones, which could mean for the next phone upgrade, your phone is going to cost you a lot more (if you have a current iPhone).
The decision, of course, is not yet finalized.
This is not the first time Apple has been sued for copyright infringement. However, it is the first time they have been sued by an American company. In the past they have gotten away with a lot, because the courts sided with Apple, as they are the American company, over a company like Samsung (Korean).
If you are potentially buying an Apple device in the next few months, you may want to be careful and do your research. If Apple loses this lawsuit, their iPhones may change, and you could be getting a different phone than you expect. Not to say they will be bad, but this lawsuit could change the way Apple builds their phones.
Christian Dye is a senior studying Business Administration and Computing.
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