Apple Found Guilty for Patent Infringement, Ordered to Pay $19 Million

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Apple has lost one of the numerous patent infringement suits the company is embroiled in, and ordered to pay US$19 million in compensation. A firm named OPTi sued Apple in January of 2007, accusing the company of infringing on patent #6,405,291, "Predictive snooping of cache memory for master-initiated accesses," and a jury in Texas agreed.

Ars Technica reported the verdict, which was handed down Thursday, April 2rd, 2009. The suit had been filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, TX, a court known to be friendly to patent infringement cases. OPTi filed the case there, though the company is based in Palo Alto, CA, mere miles away from Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

The patent in question describes a way for a computer to operate more efficiently by controlling how information is exchanged between the central processor, memory, and other devices. OPTi previously sued Intel competitor Advanced Micro Devices for violating the same patents.

In the case against Apple, the Mac maker tried to have the patents invalidated on the basis of both prior art and obviousness, the argument that technologies covered in a patent are so obvious that they should not be given patent protection.

The jury didn't buy it, however, and ordered to pay $19,009,728. Apple currently has cash holdings in excess of $29,000,000,000.

Comments

deasys

Actually, that’s $29 billion.

Bryan Chaffin

Good point, deasys. I corrected the article accordingly.

Thanks for the note!

Bryan
Editor
TMO

davebarnes

ZOMG!
Apple order to pay judgment equal to 2-days cash income.
Sell AAPL now!
The world is ending.

rpaege

Doesn’t this mean that Apple will now have to pay some sort of on-going licensing fee, in addition to the award?

Tiger

More likely, they buy OPTi.

I predict Apple is about to go on a buying spree with the cash with the economy bottoming out and starting to rebound. Get ‘em cheap, get ‘em all!

azarkon

Since Apple is claiming prior art and obviousness, this one seems headed to an appeal to me, unless apple decides that the price is fair to get OPTi to shut up.  It’s hard to imagine that a jury of texans would have the ability to understand enough about electrical and computer engineering to adjudicate this matter.  Even a tech savvy dude like me isn’t going to understand what’s going on in these cases.  Computers really are a “magic box”, and I wouldn’t expect any layman to find anything about how it works as “obvious.”

Patent law should be changed to prevent these patent-vultures.

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