Apple drops appeal of $21.7 million OPTi patent suit

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
One day prior to its scheduled hearing, Apple has dropped its appeal of a $21.7 million patent infringement case won against it by OPTi Inc last year.



OPTi originally sued Apple for $19 million over broadly worded patents related to "predictive snooping" of memory caches that speed the flow of data between a system's memory and processor.



OPTi dropped its manufacturing business to become a full time patent-suing operation in 2003. It has also filed a similar suit against chip maker AMD. Apple attempted to defend itself by claiming that the patents were invalid both through prior art and through the obviousness of the techniques involved.



However, the suit was brought by OPTi to the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division court, which is notorious for catering to patent trolls. Judge Charles Everingham rejected both of Apple's arguments in his verdict, letting the patent stand.



Emboldened by its win last winter, OPTI said it intended to "realize licensing revenue" from other companies. It also sought and won an additional $2.7 million in interest fees on its original patent case against Apple, bringing OPTi's haul to $21.7 million.



Apple appealed the decision last December, but after spending a year on its appeal, has settled with OPTi and filed a joint motion to dismiss the appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which approved the agreement, accord to a report by Bloomberg.



The terms of the agreement leading to the dismissal of the appeal were not made public, and neither Apple nor OPTi responded to requests for comment from Bloomberg. In April, AMD agreed to pay OPTi $32 million to settle its parallel infringement suit.



Last October, Apple noted in its 10K filing that it was 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."



A recent report noted that according to LegalMetric, Apple has been the most-sued technology company since 2008, the year after its original iPhone hit the market.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,784member
    Apple has bigger fish to fry anyway.
  • Reply 2 of 29
    And so the patent trolls were fed.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone happen to know why the famous East Texas court is so amenable to patent trolls?



    Is it a particular judge? Do they crave the notoriety? Ambient local ideology? Kickbacks? It just seems a bizarre that a particular district court could have such a well known reputation for predetermined outcomes and it wouldn't draw some kind of judicial review.
  • Reply 4 of 29
    *makes note*



    1: Open Swiss bank account



    2: Move to Texas, apply for jury duty



    3: Call Cupertino



    4: PROFIT!!!
  • Reply 5 of 29
    Do patents ever expire? Why doesn't the federal goverment do anything about Texas and allowing these lawsuits??
  • Reply 6 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Just out of curiosity, does anyone happen to know why the famous East Texas court is so amenable to patent trolls?



    Is it a particular judge? Do they crave the notoriety? Ambient local ideology? Kickbacks? It just seems a bizarre that a particular district court could have such a well known reputation for predetermined outcomes and it wouldn't draw some kind of judicial review.



    They handle patent cases all the time. It has more to do with them knowing how to handle it vs. they give into patent trolls.



    Or so someone said.



    In any case, Apple, care to revise your stance on patents?



    That's right, I don't care if they are Nokia's or Opti's or anyone elses. Stupid crap like this needs to stop.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    Michael Moore, East Texas patent courts await your close attention. Please.
  • Reply 8 of 29
    rhyderhyde Posts: 294member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Just out of curiosity, does anyone happen to know why the famous East Texas court is so amenable to patent trolls?



    Is it a particular judge? Do they crave the notoriety? Ambient local ideology? Kickbacks? It just seems a bizarre that a particular district court could have such a well known reputation for predetermined outcomes and it wouldn't draw some kind of judicial review.



    That is a high-tech area. The judges actually know a thing or two about tech. That's why high-tech patent cases get filed there all the time. If you actually have a case (and OPTi certainly did in this case), it's best to present it before knowledgeable people. Now as to the qualifications of the jury...
  • Reply 9 of 29
    rhyderhyde Posts: 294member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post


    And so the patent trolls were fed.



    Why do you call OPTi patent trolls? They invented the technology. At one time they actually manufactured the stuff. They *do* have the right to benefit from the use of their technology. Apple was clearly wrong in this case as the courts affirmed.



    Apple isn't always in the right on these matters. If they misuse someone else's patented work, they need to pay for it. Else why should people like Motorola, HTC, or Nokia have to respect Apple's patents?
  • Reply 10 of 29
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Probably a straight economic decision. Continued court and legal costs were getting projected to the point of being higher than a settlement now. The number of millions in this case is paltry compared to the legal team costs which would probably go several million each by the time all appeals are done.



    By taking less, but getting to keep the original win OPTi gets to use the precedent in all its future cases. I wouldn't doubt they gave a reasonable discount for that.
  • Reply 11 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rhyde View Post


    That is a high-tech area. The judges actually know a thing or two about tech. That's why high-tech patent cases get filed there all the time. If you actually have a case (and OPTi certainly did in this case), it's best to present it before knowledgeable people. Now as to the qualifications of the jury...



    Silicon Valley is not exactly The Beverly Hillbillies when it comes to high tech. Wouldn't it be the most knowledgeable area when it comes to judges and juries? I am sure there is a Federal Court in that quaint little West California backwater called San Francisco. There is more to this East Texas hotbed of litigation than has been offered as explanation so far in this thread.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rhyde View Post


    Why do you call OPTi patent trolls? They invented the technology. At one time they actually manufactured the stuff. They *do* have the right to benefit from the use of their technology. Apple was clearly wrong in this case as the courts affirmed.



    Apple isn't always in the right on these matters. If they misuse someone else's patented work, they need to pay for it. Else why should people like Motorola, HTC, or Nokia have to respect Apple's patents?



    You may be right, but unless you have read the trial transcripts you are speculating just as much as those who cry "patent trolls." The problem is that the reputation of these courts have caused many to raise eyebrows, causing suspicion about the situation and mistrust of the outcomes.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    I would bet that between Apple suing others and Apple being sued, it is a break even.
  • Reply 14 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rhyde View Post


    Why do you call OPTi patent trolls? They invented the technology. At one time they actually manufactured the stuff. They *do* have the right to benefit from the use of their technology. Apple was clearly wrong in this case as the courts affirmed.



    Apple isn't always in the right on these matters. If they misuse someone else's patented work, they need to pay for it. Else why should people like Motorola, HTC, or Nokia have to respect Apple's patents?



    Make no mistake, OPTi is a patent Troll, albeit a smart one. They didn't invent anything. They played the system by documenting in broad terms an idea and process that had prior art. There is no doubt about it. They don't even make anything! Except lawsuits. The real crime is that the US Patent and Trademark Office grants these ridiculous patents. If you are going to get a patent I think you should HAVE to show intent to actually use it in a product or license it (like a Qualcomm model). If you just sit back and troll (ah, there's that word again) the waters for a successful company to sue because they built something independently, you shouldn't be rewarded for that.



    Apple protects its patents because it actually BUILDS things that use them. So they are protecting their products. That is a BIG difference.



    I'm just saying.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kwoot27 View Post


    Do patents ever expire? Why doesn't the federal goverment do anything about Texas and allowing these lawsuits??





    Simple answer: most patents expire twenty years from the filing date.



    Every court interprets the law as each individual judge sees it. He may get embarrassed on appeal, or his wild opinion may, on appeal, become the new standard.



    Got a better idea? Go for it! (Well, sometimes someone somewhere does find ways to make things better.)
  • Reply 16 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    Silicon Valley is not exactly The Beverly Hillbillies when it comes to high tech. Wouldn't it be the most knowledgeable area when it comes to judges and juries? I am sure there is a Federal Court in that quaint little West California backwater called San Francisco. There is more to this East Texas hotbed of litigation than has been offered as explanation so far in this thread.



    Maybe they don't want to hang around gay people all day, who knows?
  • Reply 17 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post


    Maybe they don't want to hang around gay people all day, who knows?



    Are you feeling inadequate?
  • Reply 18 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post


    Make no mistake, OPTi is a patent Troll, albeit a smart one. They didn't invent anything. They played the system by documenting in broad terms an idea and process that had prior art. There is no doubt about it. They don't even make anything! Except lawsuits. The real crime is that the US Patent and Trademark Office grants these ridiculous patents. If you are going to get a patent I think you should HAVE to show intent to actually use it in a product or license it (like a Qualcomm model). If you just sit back and troll (ah, there's that word again) the waters for a successful company to sue because they built something independently, you shouldn't be rewarded for that.



    Apple protects its patents because it actually BUILDS things that use them. So they are protecting their products. That is a BIG difference.



    I'm just saying.



    You're just saying that they didn't have a case, even though they won one in a court of law.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    You're just saying that they didn't have a case, even though they won one in a court of law.



    Not quite. When you win your case in a court with a national reputation for being fair and even-handed, it carries a certain weight. When you win your case in a court with a national reputation for being LESS THAN fair and even-handed, it DOESN'T carry that weight. It just doesn't.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post


    They handle patent cases all the time. It has more to do with them knowing how to handle it vs. they give into patent trolls.



    it is the latter. That particular court is known for siding with 'the little guy' 99.9% of the time even it seems obvious that they should lose. They dont seem to ever take the time to really consider things like prior art, major change etc.



    The answer is to drop all patents on mere ideas. Copyright has done this and the lack of being able to copyright an idea hasn't hurt 'the creative process' one bit. Make it so you can only patent the way you will do X. Or if you want, allow a limited idea patent. Say 24 months. If tech can't be produced by then, sorry the idea goes out into the wild. If someone else thinks of the same thing before you get your tech sorted out, you can't stop them. And it does have to be perfect tech, just something reasonably viable



    Also they should make it so that all cases must be filed in the district where one of the parties is actually located. And they can't just pick up and move offices to that district just to file. Have tests to determine if it is a valid location or not (like they have to have been there for at least six months in a physical location and show receipts of actual transactions supporting that location)
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