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Boston University Sues Apple Over Gallium Nitride Thin Film Patent

BUApple has been sued by Boston University over a patent for gallium nitride films that the University alleges is used in the iPhone 5, iPad and MacBook Air, amongst other products. The Boston Herald first reported on the lawsuit.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, is for a patent awarded to a BU professor for which the university owns the rights.

U.S. Patent 5,686,738, titled "Highly Insulating Monocrystalline Gallium Nitride Thin Film" is related to a particular manufacturing process for LEDs and other semiconductor devices.

The lawsuit does not specify what inside Apple's products is alleged to be infringing, just noting Apple products in general. Boston University has sued a number of other companies over the same patent in recent months, including Samsung [PDF].

The initial filing is embedded below.

Top Rated Comments

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19 months ago
Maybe I'm an idiot, but last time I checked apple doesn't manufacture the screens, they only buy them... Sooooo, why isn't this lawsuit contained to LCD manufactures?
Rating: 23 Votes
19 months ago
Apple's civil lawsuit department will need it's own spaceship campus soon!
Rating: 18 Votes
19 months ago
Apple doesn't make LEDs. They should be suing the manufacturer of the parts. Apple is the aparent deep pockets.

Bogus at best.
Rating: 14 Votes
19 months ago
A great way of getting your name or your organization name in the news :D.
Rating: 7 Votes
19 months ago
He who has a mind to beat his dog will easily find his stick.
Rating: 6 Votes
19 months ago
If Boston University gets some money out of this will it be dumped back into the school to lower tuition for students or into school buildings / programs? I know at other schools, it would most likely be stuffed into the pockets of the president, administrative faculty, board members, etc.
Rating: 5 Votes
19 months ago
Apple will likely settle this one quickly. At least it's not another patent troll firm.
Rating: 5 Votes
19 months ago

Maybe I'm an idiot, but last time I checked apple doesn't manufacture the screens, they only buy them... Sooooo, why isn't this lawsuit contained to LCD manufactures?


Because Apple is selling an infringing product. The LCD manufactures could probably be sued too, but there is more profits if you consider the final assembled product value.
Rating: 4 Votes
19 months ago
It's BU, not UB, and has been called "BU" since at least the 50s when my grandmother took classes there; it is a private university with a healthy but not overly large endowment and with overly large tuition costs but a lot of financial aid; it is not related to BC (Boston University is a nominally Methodist but actually secular school, Boston College is a Jesuit-run college), and most importantly, it has poured a huge amount of money into photonics research since at least the mid 1980s, and its Photonics group is widely respected in the field.
Rating: 4 Votes
19 months ago
A potentially legitimate patent suit!? Someone get the smelling salts.
Rating: 4 Votes

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