Apple ordered to pay $21.5 million in patent suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A patent holder that was granted $19 million from Apple by a jury in April has won another $2.7 million in interest costs in the final judgment against the Mac maker.



OPTI Inc. announced Friday that the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas had found that Apple infringed on patent No. 6,405,291. The extra $2.7 million was added as pre-judgment interest, bringing the total cost to Apple $21.7 million.



OPTi's $19 million victory was made official in April, when a jury in the Marshall Division court found that Apple "wilfully" violated three claims in the patent, which describes a system for predictive snooping of cache memory that helps shuttle information between a processor, its memory, and other elements of a computer.



The suit, first filed in early 2007, was based on the broadly worded "291" patent. Legal action was also taken against AMD in a similar case.



OPTi reportedly dropped all of its original manufacturing and sales businesses in 2003 to concentrate on lawsuits.



Patent suits are often filed in the Eastern District of Texas for favorable rulings.



Apple had tried to counter the company's claims by arguing the patent was invalid through both prior art and the obviousness of the techniques involved. Judge Charles Everingham of the Marshall Court rejected those notions in his verdict.



The final outcome of the Apple case itself will play a role in the Company?s strategy for pursuing its patent infringement claims and the Company?s ability to realize licensing revenue from its Predictive Snoop patents will be significantly affected if the final outcome of the litigation is not successful," OPTi said in a press release issued Friday.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Ooof! Bad Apple.
  • Reply 2 of 60
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    simple google search shows that the inventors of this patent have similar patents going back to the 1990's so it sounds legit
  • Reply 3 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    Ooof! Bad Apple.



    Hope they didn't spend that Pystar money all in one place....
  • Reply 4 of 60
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post


    Hope they didn't spend that Pystar money all in one place....



    Hey you're back- where've you been? This place is getting taken over by the kook-aid clutch again.
  • Reply 5 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by original article


    OPTi reportedly dropped all of its original manufacturing and sales businesses in 2003 to concentrate on lawsuits.



    This should be illegal under the patent system.



    Even if they may have manufactured products using this technology before, doing the above makes them no different from a patent troll.



    I'd love to see Apple appeal the verdict and at the same time, file a countersuit in a different jurisdiction to have the patent invalidated, if possible. The article itself says the patent is "broadly worded." Surely there is either prior art, or the patent is so broad such that it is impossible to make a noninfringing product.
  • Reply 6 of 60
    The point is not how old the patent is. It shouldn't have been granted in the first place. The patent describes the normal use of the processor cache. It describes reading data in the processor cache out-of-sync with execution. That is how a microprocessor cache is designed to work. It has machine code instructions to directly allow you to do this because that is the way it is supposed to work. This is prior art, because the technique is owned by the company that created the microprocessor. It is like Ford making a car then someone patenting the method of turning the ignition key and then suing Ford. This patent does not make any sense. Not to mention that they are a patent troll as someone else mentioned because they don't make anything. What are we going to see next? A method to add two numbers together using microprocessor instructions?
  • Reply 7 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    Hey you're back- where've you been? This place is getting taken over by the kook-aid clutch again.



    The Kool Aid is always in high demand around here. Sometimes you just need a little break from Quadra, Mouse an their mentor....
  • Reply 8 of 60
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post


    The Kool Aid is always in high demand around here. Sometimes you just need a little break from Quadra, Mouse an their mentor....



    Stewie Griiffith?
  • Reply 9 of 60
    hattighattig Posts: 858member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by esummers View Post


    The point is not how old the patent is. It shouldn't have been granted in the first place. The patent describes the normal use of the processor cache. It describes reading data in the processor cache out-of-sync with execution. That is how a microprocessor cache is designed to work. It has machine code instructions to directly allow you to do this because that is the way it is supposed to work. This is prior art, because the technique is owned by the company that created the microprocessor. It is like Ford making a car then someone patenting the method of turning the ignition key and then suing Ford. This patent does not make any sense. Not to mention that they are a patent troll as someone else mentioned because they don't make anything. What are we going to see next? A method to add two numbers together using microprocessor instructions?



    There was a time when processors didn't have caches. The concept of a cache itself would have been patentable, especially technical details of how it would work.



    Then they had caches, but they weren't coherent, they were just used to speed up access to commonly used memory.



    In the 90s when multi-processing in CPUs became popular (in servers/workstations) cache coherency because a requirement, and so things like bus snooping came into being. That would have been patentable.



    So it does entirely depend on when the patent was filed, and what the prior art was at that time. The fact that the prior art submitted was thrown out, suggests it wasn't applicable to the patent in question (or the judge is crooked).



    Lots of things look obvious in hindsight. It doesn't mean creating the first implementation didn't take a lot of research.
  • Reply 10 of 60
    This is not a broad patent...It's extremely specific. Look it up.



    Basically they're patenting an automatic "look ahead" fetching of data on the PCI bus...



    When a PCI bus master requests data, PCI requires that you perform an "inquire" cycle before the burst. ( hell if I know why ) This patent is for a method that automatically extends the burst beyond the bounds of what is requested so as to "snoop" into what might be the boundaries of the next burst request, thereby allowing the system to precalcuate the inquire cycle and not have to actually perform it ( which is apparently expensive ) .

    At least that's how I understood it. But even if I'm wrong about what the exact details mean, it's not borad or general... it's crazy specific, even going so far as naming specific PCI bus signals and CPU states.
  • Reply 11 of 60
    Marshall, Texas is known as an easy court for patent hoarders to win. Nearly all questionable patent litigation occurs here, even though neither party has any reason to file in Texas.



    That factor alone leads me to believe this is complete BS and another example of the failures of the US patent system.
  • Reply 12 of 60
    Quoted from an unknown source many years ago:



    "No nation ever sued its way to greatness."
  • Reply 13 of 60
    shaminoshamino Posts: 481member
    My question here is why Apple was involved here. Based on what I've read so far, the technology is part of CPU design and/or core-logic chipsets. I don't think Apple designs that sort of stuff.



    I know today, they use Intel's chips.



    Didn't IBM and Motorola design the chipsets used on PPC systems?



    It would seem to me that those are the companies that should be targeted by the suit. Or did Apple actually design their own cache controllers at one time?
  • Reply 14 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dneesley View Post


    Quoted from an unknown source many years ago:



    "No nation ever sued its way to greatness."



    That was me. You owe me a whole lotta money. Can someone give me the address for that Texas court?
  • Reply 15 of 60
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by waffffffle View Post


    Marshall, Texas is known as an easy court for patent hoarders to win. Nearly all questionable patent litigation occurs here, even though neither party has any reason to file in Texas.



    That factor alone leads me to believe this is complete BS and another example of the failures of the US patent system.



    If it is complete BS then I'm sure Apple would have appealed which I'm surprised they haven't thoughthearticle makes no mention of. Apple is no slouch in the legal department- ask Psystar and iPodlounge and anyone else who uses an apple or ipod in their name.
  • Reply 16 of 60
    [QUOTE=waffffffle;1530342]Marshall, Texas is known as an easy court for patent hoarders to win. Nearly all questionable patent litigation occurs here, even though neither party has any reason to file in Texas.



    I wonder what % the courts in Marshall,Texas recieve from the winners.

    Seems to me if this is a lucritive place to take your "Pattenpouncers"......

    (hey I made a word) to court. Some one could look into this.
  • Reply 17 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dneesley View Post


    Quoted from an unknown source many years ago:



    "No nation ever sued its way to greatness."



    You know. I went to college for EE. Then got ino the music business working in soundtranks, business affairs, music licensing, marketing, promotions and still don't get how can Apple build a machine that allows the installtion of windows when a windows machine can bit do the same, install osx. I mean it's preety simple. If you can do that with our software then why can't msft have a vendor build a machine that allows osx software to

    run on it. ???
  • Reply 18 of 60
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hattig View Post


    The fact that the prior art submitted was thrown out, suggests it wasn't applicable to the patent in question (or the judge is crooked).



    You are forgetting a third option... that the judge is woefully ill-equipped to be making decisions on prior art in the technology arena. Something that is an obvious use of technology (and therefore not patentable) to a computer science major/programmer may appear as if it was a gift of miraculous technology from an alien civilization to a judge with a history major and law degree.



    Without saying that this particular verdict is wrong, there is most certainly something wrong in this particular court jurisdiction. It's not necessarily something crooked or underhanded. Maybe just a judge(s) who sees everything that is new, no matter how minor, as unique and therefore patentable.



    It's really the fault of the US Patent Office. They hand out patents like candy, including to Apple, because they don't have the time/expertise to sort out of they are legit or not. They just expect that the courts will sort it out if there is ever a lawsuit filed. But if the patent office can't figure out if something is patentable, how on Earth is a judge going to figure it out?



    I think this is why Apple (and many other companies) file so many patents. Not because they ever intend to sue, but so they can use them as a defense against lawsuits based on other questionable patents..."my questionable patent cancels your questionable patent". That way an ill-informed, non-tech educated judge can't as easily dismiss your counter-claims, prior art, and invalid patent arguements.



    I'd like to see the appeals record for judgements coming out of this court. How many get overturned in higher courts?
  • Reply 19 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hiimamac View Post


    You know. I went to college for EE. Then got ino the music business working in soundtranks, business affairs, music licensing, marketing, promotions and still don't get how can Apple build a machine that allows the installtion of windows when a windows machine can bit do the same, install osx. I mean it's preety simple. If you can do that with our software then why can't msft have a vendor build a machine that allows osx software to

    run on it. ???



    Because Apple will not let them. Ask Phystar. Plus Microsoft does not build computers, they write software.
  • Reply 20 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shamino View Post


    My question here is why Apple was involved here. Based on what I've read so far, the technology is part of CPU design and/or core-logic chipsets. I don't think Apple designs that sort of stuff.



    I know today, they use Intel's chips.



    Didn't IBM and Motorola design the chipsets used on PPC systems?



    It would seem to me that those are the companies that should be targeted by the suit. Or did Apple actually design their own cache controllers at one time?



    I know, it's why our system is so messed up. They probably sued on the basis of helping to infringe, as in, say for example, they started using vorbis audio, and Apple gets sued and not xiph for distribution of infringement.



    In cases like this, just to make a statement, Apple should deliver the 21 million in dimes or even pennies.
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