On July 24, 2017, Irell secured a $506-million judgment against Apple Inc. for infringing a computer microarchitecture patent owned by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), an affiliate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The judgment included $234 million a jury awarded to WARF following a two-week trial in October 2015, which the court more than doubled post-trial by awarding $272 million in ongoing royalties, supplemental damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, and costs. Because Apple continued infringing after the judgment, the judge awarded an ongoing royalty of $2.74 per unit, a significant increase from the jury award of $1.61 per unit.
The infringing products included Apple’s A7, A8, and A8X processors that have powered its iPhones and iPads since 2013. Apple left no defense untested. It asserted an inequitable conduct claim, which Irell successfully had dismissed. Apple also filed an inter partes review petition, but Irell persuaded the PTO to not even institute IPR proceedings. At trial, Irell successfully distilled complex microprocessor designs into simple concepts that a jury could understand. Irell also presented a detailed damages case including seven WARF experts. The parties filed over 470 pages of summary judgment motions, and all were decided in WARF’s favor. After the jury verdict, Apple subsequently sought reversal of nearly every aspect of the jury’s findings, but the court denied all of Apple’s post-trial motions and awarded WARF the increased final judgment of $506 million.
The team included Morgan Chu, Gary Frischling, Jason Sheasby, Alan Heinrich, Christopher Abernethy, Amy Proctor and Tony Rowles.