Apple A7 chip details may spill amid patent lawsuit

Feb 4, 2014
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Apple A7 chip details may spill amid patent lawsuit

This week a seemingly run of the mill bit of patent litigation has lit up the Apple analyst boards as the company's A7 chip has been placed at the center of a rather public trial. It's not the idea that the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation could be on the winning side of this battle with Apple that's sparking chatter, but the possibilities inside proceedings that might be of major interest. It's during the defense itself that Apple "will likely be forced to reveal proprietary details about its A7 chip", says PFHub, details Apple certainly isn't going to want to be showing off to just anyone.

This WARF battle might not be something Apple wants to keep in the public eye, even if they're in a position to dismiss it all. It's Apple Insider that suggests that WARF only wants unspecified monetary damages, legal fees, and an injunction. This injunction would force Apple to obtain a license from those that hold the patents in question or - far less likely - force Apple to end A7 chip production altogether.

Thought their name may seem friendly, the group is one of the largest NPEs (non-practicing entities) or "Patent Trolls" in the world today according to Business Insider. They hold 2,342 US Patent Publications and 1,695 Patent Families as estimated by PatentFreedom in an August 2013 report, and exists to turn inventions and discoveries from the University of Wisconsin into patents, then into commercial projects.

Meanwhile there's a line in the PFHub report that appears without substantiation (there's no back-link to what they reference) that you should have a peek at: "Indeed, there is already speculation in some quarters that the main purpose of the litigation is to force Apple Inc. to reveal some or all of the A7′s engineering."

Who is doing this speculating?

The Loop breaks this all down to the contention between Apple and WARF on a patent deal with "branch prediction." WARF suggests Apple's patents dealing in this area were filed after they had their own patents - and we'll just have to wait and see what the court has to say about the whole battle in proceedings. Of course Apple should, by all means, have some course of action which would allow them to declare "trade secret" on these files to hide them from anyone but the court, but we shall see.


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