Boston University is going into battle with behemoth consumer electronics company Apple over an electronic semiconductor. A lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, according to the Boston Herald, alleging a small patented piece of hardware developed by Professor Theodore Moustakas has been integrated into the company’s iPhone 5, iPad and MacBook Air.
“Defendant’s acts of infringement have caused and will continue to cause substantial and irreparable damage to the University,” said Boston University in the complaint.
Boston University spokesperson Colin Riley declined to comment, saying, “The complaint speaks for itself.”
The institution has filed a total of eight identical claims in the last year against smaller manufacturers and device makers, including Samsung and Amazon, according to the Herald.
Blog Patently Apple points to the school’s claim, highlighting Moustakas’ patent filed in November 1997 titled, “Highly Insulating Monocrystalline Gallium Nitride Thin Films.” The site writes:
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 infringement thereof.
Roger Kay, founder and president of Endpoint Technology Associates, told the Herald he wouldn’t be surprised if a successful verdict or settlement landed the school $75 million, claiming, “Courts can be irrational in these cases. You get these ridiculous judgements sometimes and they may think of Apple as a big, right company that doesn’t deserve all that money.”
That said, if Boston University miraculously pulls this lawsuit off, let’s hope they put some of the earnings into the hands of students. Tuition will be rising 3.7 percent next year, ringing in at $43,970. With $75 million in the bank, the school could make at least a million undergraduates very, very happy.