University of Wisconsin takes Apple to court over A7’s performance-enhancing tricks

iPad Air promo (A7 closeup 001)

The University of Wisconsin via its patent-licensing arm, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, has filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging the company’s in-house designed A7 chip infringes the foundation’s patent designed to improve “the efficiency and performance of contemporary computer processors” by introducing a new process for allowing quicker execution of processor instructions.

It’s been reported Monday that Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip, which acts as the primary engine driving the iPhone 5s, the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display, apparently uses this technology without permission…

AppleInsider reports that the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation isn’t just seeking an injunction barring the iPhone maker from using its technology without a license, they’re also seeking unspecified monetary damages and legal fees.

According to the foundation “Apple has stated that it is the policy of the company not to accept or consider proposals regarding licensing from outside entities like WARF for any purpose” so a lawsuit was needed.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation owns the U.S. Patent No. 5,781,752 entitled ‘Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer’.

The invention outlines a predictor circuit which permits quicker execution of processor instructions, based on previous instructions and “mis-speculations detected at the final stages of processing”.

Branch prediction and other performance-enhancing tricks have been used for ages in processors, but that doesn’t exonerate Apple as the firm apparently knew about this patent – a few of Apple’s own patent filings even cite the foundation’s patent.