The Trustees of Boston University have filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The patent lawsuit alleges that Apple is using a thin film semiconductor device (found in such products as the iPhone 5, iPad and MacBook Air) that infringes the 1997 patent 5,686,738. The Boston University-owned patent no 5,686,738 titled, “Highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films”, covers a method of growing gallium nitride single crystal films using molecular beam epitaxy for producing LEDs and other semiconductor devices. The ‘738 patent was invented by Thomas D. Moustakas, Ph.D., Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at BU
According to his bio, Thomas Moustakas’s patents in nitride semiconductors, and III-V compounds are currently licensed to manufacturers of blue LEDs and lasers, Cree, Osram, Philips, and Nichia.
The University previously sued Samsung and Amazon (the maker of the Kindle readers). In those lawsuits in filed in March and May respectively, the university alleged infringement of the same “738” patent. In addition, the March lawsuit alleged infringement of the 6953703 B2( the ‘703) patent, (also invented by Thomas Moustakas titled, “Method of making a semiconductor device with exposure of sapphire substrate to activated nitrogen,” The ‘703 patent relates to the production of LEDs and laser diodes.
BU’s lawsuit against Apple includes the request that the court ban the sale of products containing the infringing components.