Boston University sues Apple for patent infringement

The university has previously sued several companies including Amazon.com and Samsung Electronics

Boston University is seeking to ban Apple from selling some of its products, besides demanding damages for the alleged infringement of a semiconductor patent invented by a university professor.

The patent was invented by Theodore D. Moustakas, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university, and was assigned to the trustees of the university, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Several of Apple's products, including the iPhone 5, iPad, and MacBook Air include the gallium nitride thin film semiconductor device claimed by the patent and thus infringe one or more claims of the patent, according to the complaint on Tuesday. It did not specify where in its products Apple infringes the patent which seems to relate to LEDs.

The patent is titled "Highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films," and was issued in November 1997.

The university wants the court to enjoin Apple from "making, having made, selling, offering for sale, distributing and/or using products" that infringe the patent. It is also asking for an accounting of all gains, profits and advantages that Apple derived from the infringement, and demands adequate compensation.

The university previously sued for infringement of the patent several other companies including Amazon.com and Samsung Electronics. It alleged in May that some displays of Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite reader and Kindle Fire tablet infringed its patents, after failing to get a stipulation from supplier Seoul Semiconductor to protect its customers from infringement suits.

In the suit against Samsung Electronics, the university alleged that the company's LED product infringed one or more claims of its patent. The suit in March also alleged that Samsung's semiconductor devices infringed on another of its patents relating to a method of making semiconductor devices.

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Tags smartphonestabletsApplelegaliPhonehardware systemsconsumer electronicsintellectual propertypatentSamsung ElectronicsBoston University

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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