Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Apple Settles IP Suit with Boston University over Semiconductor Technology

Case Filed: Jul 02, 2013
Case Closed: Jan 16, 2014
Court: Massachusetts District Court
Judge: F. Dennis Saylor, IV
Case Summary:
Boston University (BU) sued consumer electronics firm Apple for alleged infringement of its US patent 5686738, which covers the manufacture of monocrystalline gallium nitride films in a molecular beam epitaxial (MBE) growth chamber. The patent is entitled "Highly Insulating Monocrystalline Gallium Nitride thin Films", was legally issued on Nov 11, 1997 to Theodore D. Moustakas, a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at BU and expiring[i] by Nov 11, 2014. The patent is assigned to Boston University (as per face page and complaint).
According to the complaint, the University is one of the largest private universities in US, conducting a diverse range of interdisciplinary, collaborative and innovative research projects across a broad spectrum of academic departments, programs, centers and institutes  including research in the field of electrical and computer engineering. BU faculty members have won five Nobel Prizes and BU has been awarded hundreds of United States Patents, including the’738 patent.
BU claimed that Apple regularly and deliberately engaged in activities that result in using, selling, offering for sale, and importing infringing products in Massachusetts.” The infringing products are iPhone 5, iPad and MacBook Air that include a gallium nitride thin film semiconductor device claimed by the ’738 patent and thus infringe one or more claims of the ’738 patent. The university trustees sought damages and demanded a trial by jury.
On Jan 06, 2014, the Court received a letter from the plaintiff Trustees of Boston University alerting the Court that plaintiff had settled the dispute with defendant Apple. Following this, joint motion of dismissal was filed considering which Judge granted the motion, thereby ending the dispute.
See 1:13-cv-11575 for more details. To get alerts on cases filed/closed, subscribe to our Litigation Alerts.

* Expected expiration date using Patent Term Estimator, use our free tool or download our free Android app on Google Play Store. 

[i] Expected expiration date. Patent Term Estimator is a free web-based tool that automatically calculates patent terms and expiration dates for U.S. utility patents.

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