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.