Well, here’s one way to beef up the old endowment: GigaOm reports Boston University has filed suit against Apple, accusing the company of jacking one of its patents for use in products like the iPhone 5, iPad and MacBook Air.
BU wants sales stopped, plus a big old stack of cash: “The “University is, therefore, entitled to such damages pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §284 in an amount that presently cannot be pled but that will be determined at trial,” according to the complaint.
Beats the hell out of trying to extract money from the alumni!
BU claims that the offending products contain a “gallium nitride thin film semiconductor device” that one of the university’s professors patented back in 1995 and remains in effect until 2015. “The University owns by assignment the entire right, title, and interest in and to the 738 patent, including the sole right to sue for past and present patent infringements thereof,” the suit says.
The Boston Globe says the university has also sued Amazon and Samsung recently, which means the academics are now treading dangerously close to patent troll territory. Why they’re filing suit now isn’t entirely clear; we’ve reached out to Boston University and will update if we hear back.