Apple obtains compulsory license on patents owned by WARF, by District Court Judge in Wisconsin

On June 6, 2017, Judge William Martin Conley, a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, issued a compulsory license allowing Apple Computers to use a patent it had infringed, owned by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), in return for an ongoing royally. Apple was found to infringe U.S. Patent No. 5,781,752, titled “Table based data speculation circuit for parallel processing computer. WARF asked for a permanent injunction to prevent future infringement. The court rejected the injunction, but awarded WARF an ongoing royalty.

The case was Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation v. Apple, Inc., Case: 3:14-cv-00062-wmc, (W.D. Wis., June 6, 2017). A copy of the opinion and order is available here.

The relevant part of the order was as follows:

. . .

3) Plaintiff’s motion for equitable relief (dkt. #683) is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff’s motion for a permanent injunction is denied, but its motion for an award of an ongoing royalty is granted. The going royalty rate is set at $2.74 per unit.
. . .

Apple is likely to appeal the royalty.

As an aside, the patent in the case includes a declaration of public rights.

Government Interests
This invention was made with United States government support awarded by the following agencies:
ARPA Grant No. DABT63-95-C-0127;
ONR, Grant No. N00014-93-1-0465; and
NSF, Grant Nos.: CCR-9303030 and MIP-9505853.
The United States has certain rights in this invention.


James Love

James Love is the Director of Knowledge Ecology International. Previously, he was an economist for the Center for Study of Responsive Law where he also directed the Consumer Project on Technology and the Taxpayer Assets Project, Senior Economist for the Frank Russell Corporation, and held lecturer positions at Rutgers and Princeton Universities. His KEI webpage is