The type of Intellectual Property at issue in my discussion is Patent. A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. In my research, I found that the University of Wisconsin sued Apple Inc. for infringing the school’s patent on microprocessor technology. According to Bloomberg.com and Irell & Manella LLP, “Patent 5,781,752, issued in 1998, relates to the design of a processor chip to improve performance. The patent covers a predictor circuit, which streamlines the way a processor works by predicting what instructions a user will give the system based on data from previous use and the machine’s previous guesses. The Wisconsin foundation said Apple was using the invention in its A7 processors for the iPhone 5s and iPad. A separate suit was filed in September 2015 claiming newer models of the iPhone also use the invention. On October 16, 2015, a federal jury in the Western District of Wisconsin found that Apple Inc. owes the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) $234.2 million for patent infringement following the two-week trial. The damages verdict follows the jury’s finding that Apple’s A7, A8 and A8X system-on-chip designs infringe a WARF-owned computer processing patent.”
The work is valuable to the University of Wisconsin because, according to the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization, “some argue that patent protection of computer software is necessary in order to provide adequate incentive for investment in the computer science field and to support innovation in various technological areas, which are increasingly developing hand-in-hand with computer technology.” This may or may not apply to Wisconsin’s patent because it is a circuit and not a program, but both circuits and programs are closely related. It is difficult to have one without the other when using most pieces of technology.
The patent is also valuable to them for a more obvious reason – they created it! Irell & Manella LLP mentions that “WARF, the nonprofit foundation that serves as the technology transfer arm of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, filed the patent infringement suit against Apple in 2014. WARF claimed that Apple used the technology to speed computer processing by allowing the efficient out-of-order execution of computer instructions with a data speculation circuit that WARF had patented several years earlier.” Since it is a patent, according to our reading, the elements are protected, not the function. By misusing/changing the elements of the original patent to fit their needs, Apple Inc. infringed upon it.
The protection of the integrity and author’s vision of the work is somewhat necessary in this case since that only the integrity portion pertains to copyrights, not patents. According to our reading, Moral Rights are the author’s rights to receive credit (attribution) and to control the destiny of the work (integrity). I am sure WARF would like to control the destiny of the work (integrity), but that does not apply here. I am unsure of what the author’s actual vision of the work is, but according to the patent information, “the invention relates generally to architectures of electronic computers and specifically to electronic computers for parallel processing.”
I don’t think the author would want to prevent others from using the work as long as he or she is given credit and nothing is altered. If Intellectual Property law did not protect the work, a possible consequence could be that Apple Inc. would have gotten away with altering the patent. Also, the whole point of Intellectual Property laws is to protect one’s work. It was mentioned in our course video, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, that “One of the best ways to ensure success is to have a citizenry that is encouraged to create. By giving us the exclusive rights to the works we create so that we can profit from our works, we would be more likely to create those works.” Even though this has more to do with copyright law, I believe it still holds true for other types of intellectual property. By protecting our work and “standing on the shoulders of giants”, we are all more likely to create!
The original filed patent: http://1.usa.gov/1NbLywW
“Irell Wins $234M Jury Verdict for WARF Against Apple.” : Irell & Manella LLP. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.
“EFF Says Cutting Infringers `Wrong’: Intellectual Property.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.
“World Intellectual Property Organization.” Patents. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.
“World Intellectual Property Organization.” Patent Expert Issues: Computer Programs and Business Methods. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.
“United States Patent: 5781752.” United States Patent: 5781752. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.