Apple Settles with Boston University over Patent Infringement Claims

Apple has agreed to a licensing deal instead of a court fight with Boston University over allegations that it infringed on a patent the school holds covering of blue LED technology. Along with Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Motorola, Amazon, HP, Nokia, Dell, and several other companies agreed to licensing settlements, too.

Apple agrees to BU patent licensing feesApple agrees to BU patent licensing fees

According to the University, the companies agreed to pay licensing fees through the patent management firm RPX, although the school isn't saying what sort of dollar amounts were included in the agreement.

RPX is a name that's cropped up before in Apple's world, although previously the company was representing Google during the bidding for Kodak's patents. Apple was represented by Intellectual Ventures. The two groups paid some US$525 million for Kodak's patent portfolio.

Boston University said about 12 more companies still haven't agreed to licensing deals yet, but likely will soon.

The patent describes a process where gallium nitride thin films are used in the manufacturing process to create blue LEDs. It was issued to Boston University College of Engineering professor Theodore Moustakas in the 1990s and has been controlled by the school.

With the patent set to expire in November 2014, the school has been hard at work trying to bring together as many licensing deals as it can before that deadline hits. The reasoning behind the wave of lawsuits comes at least in part from the fact that there isn't much time left for the school to swing deals.

"We own the patents and we're making complaints using the legal process to protect our patents from infringement," Boston University spokesman Colin Riley told the school's The Daily Free Press last year when the suits were filed. "The fact is there's a timeframe in which you have exclusive benefits to a patent."

Apple hasn't commented on the licensing deal.