Apple appeals $21.7 million patent infringement decision

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
After a patent holder was awarded $21.7 million from Apple last week over technology related to cache memory, the Mac maker has officially appealed the court's decision.



On Dec. 4, Apple filed its formal appeal in the case. OPTi Inc was awarded the money when a Texas court determined that Apple 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.



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



OPTIi has a similar, ongoing lawsuit against chip maker AMD, filed in July of 2007. OPTi's suits relate to the ownership of patent No. 6,405,291. The suit against Apple was first filed in January of 2007.



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



Last week, OPTi announced that the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas added $2.7 million to its damages in pre-judgment interest costs. That was tacked on to the $19 million Apple was ordered to pay in April.



As a major corporation, Apple is usually bombarded with lawsuits. In October, the company noted that it was then defending itself from more than 47 patent infringement cases, 27 of which were filed during the fiscal year. The company said that responding to claims, regardless of merit, consumes "significant time and expense."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    What?s with $2.7M being a popular fee for lawyers?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The company said that responding to claims, regardless of merit, consumes "significant time and expense.



    Hell yeah it does. This such a waste. We really need a reform, or at least for Texas to actually secede from the US making cases in Marshall impossible.
  • Reply 2 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    What?s with $2.7M being a popular fee for lawyers?



    It means you still owe Larry H. Parker 600 grand once you get your settlement.
  • Reply 3 of 40
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    I do not understand how Apple is responsible for violating a patent on technology built into the CPU - or did I miss something and it is something in the OS?



    It reminds me of a local case where a woman slipped and fell on a sidewalk in front of a house and sued the city, the homeowner, AND the real estate agent who had the house listed for sale AND the real estate agent's broker.



    Now - IF maintaing the sidewalk is the responsibility of the city AND the sidewalk was in such poor condition that it could not be safely navigated then maybe there is some merit to suing the city. Or if the homeowner is responsible for fixing damaged sidewalks then maybe some merit in suing the home owner. But why the real estate agent and broker? I suppose because presumably they have a lot of money and regardless of guilt and fault and blame etc - you have to go after SOMEONE who has money if your ultimate goal is not justice or to correct the problem but to get a fat check at the end of the case.
  • Reply 4 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post


    I do not understand how Apple is responsible for violating a patent on technology built into the CPU - or did I miss something and it is something in the OS?



    ------- you have to go after SOMEONE who has money if your ultimate goal is not justice or to correct the problem but to get a fat check at the end of the case.



    BINGO. If you sue in Eastern Texas and do not live there, you are patent trolling. PERIOD



    Just a thought,

    en
  • Reply 5 of 40
    I suppose the part I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around is simply this -- Apple assembles the computer, but does not actually manufacture the components in question with this litigation. It seems to me that if you have a beef with a patent on these chips, go after the chip makers.



    These patent trolls are worthless leaches on our tech industry. Frankly I like the idea of patents being similar to trademarks -- use them or lose them. You should not be able to just file a patent, sit on it, wait for someone else to come up with the same obvious idea and do all your legwork to create a successful product, then cash in afterwards, having not actually contributed any equity to the product's success. And software patents just need to go, period. Want a copyright on that code? Sure. Patent on it? Go away.



    Unless the ridiculous ideas of "intellectual property" as they currently exist are fixed, we are in danger of losing our last competitive advantages in the technology field to countries with saner patent systems.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    mystigomystigo Posts: 102member
    If they appeal, will the venue be changed? Can they get out of Taliban country to a real court?
  • Reply 7 of 40
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,557member
    There might actually be validity to this patent; at the time it was a novel solution. As I understand it, the "invention" is part of the kernel drivers for the os. Technically, I would think BSD would be in trouble on this as the source code wouldn't be Apple's property.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    There might actually be validity to this patent; at the time it was a novel solution. As I understand it, the "invention" is part of the kernel drivers for the os. Technically, I would think BSD would be in trouble on this as the source code wouldn't be Apple's property.



    From a cursory look, the patent seems valid but I still don?t see how Apple is at fault. I guess it?s something in Darwin? Maybe they noticed it after Apple made it open source?
  • Reply 9 of 40
    grkinggrking Posts: 533member
    Ok, everyone here who actually has a copyright or patent raise their hand.



    I am a longstanding Mac user, but the double standard here is amazing.



    Who thinks that Apple suing the power adapter maker for patent infringement is ok? If so, why and how is this any different than this company suing Apple for infringing on its patents?



    Folks, patents are here to protect IP. The patent holder is under no obligation to invent or produce anything beyond the patent.



    Robonerd seems to think that patents involve "obvious" ideas, which is by no means the case (think molecular biology).



    How would you feel if you invented something got the patent, and had some mega corporation steal your idea? How many of you have the financial resources to do something about it? Could you sue Apple with its legions of lawyers if they stole your idea.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by grking View Post


    Ok, everyone here who actually has a copyright or patent raise their hand.



    I am a longstanding Mac user, but the double standard here is amazing.



    Who thinks that Apple suing the power adapter maker for patent infringement is ok? If so, why and how is this any different than this company suing Apple for infringing on its patents?



    Folks, patents are here to protect IP. The patent holder is under no obligation to invent or produce anything beyond the patent.



    Robonerd seems to think that patents involve "obvious" ideas, which is by no means the case (think molecular biology).



    How would you feel if you invented something got the patent, and had some mega corporation steal your idea? How many of you have the financial resources to do something about it? Could you sue Apple with its legions of lawyers if they stole your idea.



    It's one thing when a company has a patent and then produces a product based off the patent to sue an infringer.



    It is another thing when an entire companies business model is creating patents and sitting around until a company infringes on it. You think that is ok? All Opti is doing is creating a patent waits until a company infringes on it and then sues. No products, no nothing. It's entire business model is suing other companies. Sorry, that is wrong.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    grkinggrking Posts: 533member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quagmire View Post


    It's one thing when a company has a patent and then produces a product based off the patent to sue an infringer.



    It is another thing when an entire companies business model is creating patents and sitting around until a company infringes on it. You think that is ok? All Opti is doing is creating a patent waits until a company infringes on it and then sues. No products, no nothing. It's entire business model is suing other companies. Sorry, that is wrong.



    With all due respect, there is NO difference between Apple (or any other company) as the defendant or plantiff.



    Show me where in the patent law it says that a patent holder is required to to produce anything.



    The simple fact is that the patent owner is not required to do anything, and if a company wants to use the patent in their product they are required to reach an agreement with the patent holder, or take their chances in court.



    You may not like it, but that is the way it is.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by grking View Post


    With all due respect, there is NO difference between Apple (or any other company) as the defendant or plantiff.



    Show me where in the patent law it says that a patent holder is required to to produce anything.



    The simple fact is that the patent owner is not required to do anything, and if a company wants to use the patent in their product they are required to reach an agreement with the patent holder, or take their chances in court.



    You may not like it, but that is the way it is.



    You're right, it doesn't state it, but many of us it would or least want a major reform of the way patents work. I even want code to be covered more under copyright law than under patents, but with a new category specifically designed for code.



    The big difference between the Apple power adapter and the OPTi cases are that Apple actually created something tangible while. I am not a fan of squatting because it doesn't push technology forward. Sitting on a patent hoping someone else comes along to figure out how to use it just to sue their ass is a broken system. I don't find this fair.



    If Marshall, TX found Apple guilty then so be it. They're appealing but will likely lose.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,421member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quagmire View Post


    It's one thing when a company has a patent and then produces a product based off the patent to sue an infringer.



    It is another thing when an entire companies business model is creating patents and sitting around until a company infringes on it. You think that is ok? All Opti is doing is creating a patent waits until a company infringes on it and then sues. No products, no nothing. It's entire business model is suing other companies. Sorry, that is wrong.



    Seriously you don't know what you are talking about half of Apples products couldn't exist if it wasn't fir our current patent system. Companies like ARM and Imagination could not make any money at all from selling their IP. Interesting here is the whole economy built up around ARM cores and IP to glue onto thoose cores. That economy made it possible to build the iPhone and many other ARM based devices cheaply. Right now the only thing ARM produces is IP, taking your stance the shouldn't be able to protect that IP.



    As to Opti I'm resisting the temptation to look into them or the patents. They may have taken the point of view that people weren't willing to pay fir their IP so they have no choice but to sue. It is their right to do so as long as the patent is considered valid and enforceable. It should be noted that Opti didn't go around and buy up a lot of old patents to sue with, rather it appears that the developed the tech themselves.



    Frankly who and when will become real important when Apple starts the appeal process because at this point the only thing that will save them is finding prior art. The thing is this thread already has indicated to me that they are far from having a patent for anything obvious.



    In any event there are a lot of bogus patent claims out there but it isn't clear at all that this is the case with Opti. Apple will need to either find prior art or pay up.





    Dave
  • Reply 14 of 40
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    You would think the fact that a vast majority of patent suits are filed in East Texas that someone in the justice department would take an interest. When an area starts profiting because the local courts are 'patent friendly', then it should become an item of interest. Justice should never be for sale, and no one should be profiting from these except perhaps for the blood sucking lawyers.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    grkinggrking Posts: 533member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You're right, it doesn't state it, but many of us it would or least want a major reform of the way patents work. I even want code to be covered more under copyright law than under patents, but with a new category specifically designed for code.



    The big difference between the Apple power adapter and the OPTi cases are that Apple actually created something tangible while. I am not a fan of squatting because it doesn't push technology forward. Sitting on a patent hoping someone else comes along to figure out how to use it just to sue their ass is a broken system. I don't find this fair.



    If Marshall, TX found Apple guilty then so be it. They're appealing but will likely lose.



    Patent reform may be necessary. OTOH, getting a patent is not an easy matter, no matter what some may think. Furthermore, coming up with the idea and getting the patent does push things forward.



    Honestly, in some respects I do not understand why people are so bent, except that it is Apple who lost. The company came up with the idea and got the patent. Under any other circumstances they should be paid for what they did, except that here it is "perfect Apple" that is involved. If Apple, or any other company, wants to use the patented technology they should pay for it.



    Moving code to copyright has its own issues, which may be unappealing. There you have exemptions for "academic and artistic" uses. So there is the whole issue of same academic researcher using the code in their research, and coming up with something new and unexpected.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by grking View Post


    Patent reform may be necessary. OTOH, getting a patent is not an easy matter, no matter what some may think. Furthermore, coming up with the idea and getting the patent does push things forward.



    Honestly, in some respects I do not understand why people are so bent, except that it is Apple who lost. The company came up with the idea and got the patent. Under any other circumstances they should be paid for what they did, except that here it is "perfect Apple" that is involved. If Apple, or any other company, wants to use the patented technology they should pay for it.



    Moving code to copyright has its own issues, which may be unappealing. There you have exemptions for "academic and artistic" uses. So there is the whole issue of same academic researcher using the code in their research, and coming up with something new and unexpected.



    Because when people patent an idea, with nothing behind it but words and a weak schematic, with an obvious process, it's patent trolling.



    'Predictive snooping of cache'. Really?
  • Reply 17 of 40
    grkinggrking Posts: 533member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    You would think the fact that a vast majority of patent suits are filed in East Texas that someone in the justice department would take an interest. When an area starts profiting because the local courts are 'patent friendly', then it should become an item of interest. Justice should never be for sale, and no one should be profiting from these except perhaps for the blood sucking lawyers.



    Just food for thought, and I may be completely wrong, but maybe East Texas is the only place in the country where the courts are not stacked against the small guy in these cases.



    I would be shocked if there were not a couple of districts where the Big Corporations file their suit because they pretty much always win in those districts.



    As to Justice for sale - it is and always has been. When the well heeled can buy the best legal team and the small guy can't then Justice is for sale.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by grking View Post


    With all due respect, there is NO difference between Apple (or any other company) as the defendant or plantiff.



    Show me where in the patent law it says that a patent holder is required to to produce anything.



    The simple fact is that the patent owner is not required to do anything, and if a company wants to use the patent in their product they are required to reach an agreement with the patent holder, or take their chances in court.



    You may not like it, but that is the way it is.



    Many judges in patent cases look at this, as the whole idea of patents to begin with is to protect your product you make, not to patent other peoples ideas then sue them because they have large amounts of money.
  • Reply 19 of 40
    Quote:

    Honestly, in some respects I do not understand why people are so bent, except that it is Apple who lost. The company came up with the idea and got the patent. Under any other circumstances they should be paid for what they did, except that here it is "perfect Apple" that is involved. If Apple, or any other company, wants to use the patented technology they should pay for it.



    Because Apple isn't in the business of making CPUs with cache snooping; all they do is assemble computers with CPUs in them. It isn't their technology.



    That's like the stupid cases where HP and Dell were sued for I believe the same reasons. Opti can sue AMD, Intel, and ARM, but going after people who merely implement the technology shouldn't be held accountable. Unfortunately, the law allows this, and in today's market where it can be 10 years later down the line you own millions of fines can be devastating to a business.



    That's why Apple wont' touch ogg/vorbis with a 10 foot pole; they don't want to find out what submarine patents cover it. Which again, sucks, because those losers should sue xiph already for patent infringement, but they won't because there is no money in it, and mp3 patent holders are on record for saying this.



    Now xiph hired a lawyer to make sure vorbis was not infringing, but the only real way to find out is via a court case, preferably not in TX.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Seriously you don't know what you are talking about half of Apples products couldn't exist if it wasn't fir our current patent system. Companies like ARM and Imagination could not make any money at all from selling their IP. Interesting here is the whole economy built up around ARM cores and IP to glue onto thoose cores. That economy made it possible to build the iPhone and many other ARM based devices cheaply. Right now the only thing ARM produces is IP, taking your stance the shouldn't be able to protect that IP.



    ARM's product is their IP. At least they are coming up with designs, etc to sell to companies that actually build the chips.



    Where Opti is coming up with patents and doing nothing until a company infringes on it and sues. No selling or licensing the patent, just waits and sues. Their whole business model is suing other companies. They could care less about doing something with their patents( licensing, etc).



    Our patent system needs to be reformed to where companies can't create a patent and just sue. As what Opti is doing. All they are doing is suing.
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