Boston University Hits Apple with Patent Infringement Lawsuit

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.

Boston U says Apple chips infringe on its gallium nitride patentBoston U says Apple chips infringe on its gallium nitride patent

The patent in question was granted to Theodore D Moustakas and assigned to the Trustees of Boston University in November 1997 and describes what sounds more like something Wesley Crusher would spout than a special type of computer chip: Highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films.

The system can be used to create "inexpensive and compact solid-state blue lasers," according to the patent filing.

The University filed its lawsuit a few days ago in Federal District Court in Massachusetts, and if the case goes to trial Apple could be forced to hand over earnings documents to help establish exactly how much money the school might score if it wins in court.

Apple isn't the first company BU has targeted with infringement lawsuits over its gallium nitride patent. Amazon and Samsung have both been hit with their own lawsuits, as have a number of smaller companies.

Apple hasn't commented on the University's lawsuit.

[Thanks to Patently Apple for the heads up]