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Business

Apple faces hefty fine after patent ruling

A jury in the US has found Apple guilty of using technology it did not own to speed up some of its iPhone and iPad processors. The company could face a fine in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The case against Apple had been brought on behalf of researchers from the University of Wisconsin. They developed the microchip technology in question in 1998 to improve efficiency and performance of microprocessors.

The plaintiffs said Apple used the technology in its iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad Mini without permission and that the technology giant had denied an offer to license it, which would have allowed Apple to keep using it for a fee. Apple had unsuccessfully tried to throttle the suit against it by contending the patent was invalid.

After Tuesday's ruling, the case will move on to the damages phase. Apple, which is based in Cupertino, California, faces a fine of up to $862 million (755.6 million euros) for infringing on the Wisconsin University researchers' intellectual property.

The exact amount Apple will have to pay has yet to be determined. The group that initially brought the lawsuit, the nonprofit Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is reportedly preparing a new case that makes a similar claim about Apple's new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models.

cjc/sms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)