Boston University is wading into the mobile patent wars. It filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming that the iPhone 5, iPad and MacBook Air infringe on a patent obtained by a BU professor in 1997.
The Mac Observer’s Jeff Gamet reported, “Apple is facing another patent infringement lawsuit, although this time it’s from Boston University instead of a company. The University is alleging that the iPhone 5, iPad, and MacBook Air use a semiconductor it received a patent for in 1997, and is asking for a ban on selling some Apple products as well as a slice of the company’s profits.”
The Verge’s Adi Robertson noted, “In a suit filed yesterday, the university said that Apple was illegally using its ‘738 patent, which covers a method of making thin gallium nitride film semiconductors that can produce blue lasers cheaply and compactly. The complaint doesn’t specify precisely how Apple is using the patented method, but gallium nitrate films often end up in LED displays. Boston University argues that ‘[Apple’s] acts of infringement have caused and will continue to cause substantial and irreparable damage to the University.'”
The Boston Herald’s Jessica Van Sack observed, “BU has filed a total of eight identical claims against smaller manufacturers and device-makers as well as two other high-profile companies, Samsung and Amazon, in the past year.”
The Register’s Richard Chirgwin found irony in the lawsuit, writing, “Boston University, which last year assessed the cost of ‘patent trolling’ in the American economy at $US29 billion, has fired its litigation gun at a slew of tech companies – including Apple. Since October 2012 – incidentally the month in which its cost-of-trolling research was released – the university has been filing lawsuits centred around the semiconductor technology used to make LEDs.”