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Boston University claims Apple stole professor's idea

Boston University claims that Apple infringed on its professor's patent, and demands that Apple halt the sales of iPhone 5, iPad, and MacBook Air devices

By Contributor / July 5, 2013

The latest version of the MacBook Air. A Boston University professor claims Apple infringed his patent with technology used in this and other Apple models.

Business Wire/ File

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Patent wars are all the rage in the tech community, and Apple is often viewed as the most aggressive patent warrior in Silicon Valley. Now, in an odd turn around, Boston University has decided to take Apple to court. 

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On Tuesday, the university filed suit against Apple for patent infringement on a technology it says is used in the iPhone 5, iPad, and MacBook Air.   

Theodore Moustakas, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Boston University, published a patent for “highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films” in November 1997, and claims that Apple used this technology without his permission, according to the patent infringement complaint filed at the US District Court of Massachusetts.

The patent is set to expire in 2015.

Boston University has not made a comment as to why the university chose this time to file on Mr. Moustakas' behalf.   

BU has asked Apple to halt the sales of the iPhone 5, iPad, and MacBook Air, and has asked for damages.

Apple has sold more than 100 million iPads and 55 million copies of the iPhone 5. 

BU has also filed suit against Amazon.com, Samsung, and other technology companies for similar patent infringements, according to the Boston Globe.  

A 2012 study published by two Boston University law professors, James Bessen and Michael Meurer found that the high levels of patent litigation cost the United States an estimated $29 billion in 2011. (Hat tip to Venture Beat.) 

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