MIT accuses Apple of patent infringement

MIT accuses Apple of patent infringement

MIT has filed a lawsuit against Apple and Micron over their alleged patent infringement concerning a technology used to manufacture semiconductor wafers. The patent describes a laser-cutting process for semiconductor metals and was originally issued in 2000 to then-MIT scientist Joseph Bernstein and co-inventor Zhihui Duan.

According to MIT, Micron violated the patent by using the laser-cutting process to construct DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) chips without first obtaining a license from MIT.

The Micron-manufactured DRAM wafers are used in a number of Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air. According to the complaint filed by MIT, Apple is the single largest user of devices made by Micron and its subsidiaries that use the patented process.

MIT is seeking compensatory damages and a formal declaration from Apple and Micron that the patent was violated, in addition to royalties on all Apple products that used the patented laser cutting process, according to GigaOM.

MIT’s actions echo a series of lawsuits filed by Boston University against 25 companies, including Apple and HP, due to patent infringement of a thin film technology used in the manufacture of blue LEDs.

Since 2000, MIT has been involved in 42 different patent litigation campaigns, including this lawsuit, according to RPX Corporation, which provides patent risk management services. MIT was the plaintiff in 32 of the suits.

—Rohan Banerjee

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