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Apple, Broadcom win new damages trial in $1.1 billion CalTech patent case

A jury previously ruled that the two companies infringed Wi-Fi tech patents held by the California Institute of Technology.

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Apple and Broadcom on Friday won a fresh trial in a patent case that would have forced them to pay $1.1 billion to California Institute of Technology, as earlier reported by Reuters. This comes after a jury ruled in 2020 that the companies infringed patents linked to Wi-Fi tech in iPhones, iPads, Macs and other devices from 2010 to 2017.

On Friday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated the damages, saying they weren't justified, and ordered a new trial. The court said the "two-tier" system used to award damages, which involved "vastly different royalty rates" for each company, was "legally unsupportable."

Neither Apple, Broadcom nor California Institute of Technology immediately responded to requests for comment.

CalTech sued Apple and Broadcom in 2016, alleging that the companies infringed on the university's patents related to wireless data transmissions. Apple in court filings argued that it shouldn't have been involved in the lawsuit because it was using off-the-shelf Broadcom chips, like many other handset makers. 

A jury disagreed and ruled that Apple must pay Caltech $837.8 million, and that Broadcom must pay $270.2 million. The $1.1 billion ruling was one of the largest for a patent case in the US.

The appeals court on Friday did affirm the 2020 jury's finding that Apple and Broadcom infringed on two CalTech patents but ordered a new trial related to a third patent. 

CNET's Carrie Mihalcik contributed to this report.