OPTi wins $19 million from Apple in patent lawsuit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2015
In a rare public legal defeat, Apple this week was found to have infringed on a patent for computing technology and has been asked to pay $19 million dollars in damages.



An Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division court handed down the amount on Thursday after ruling that Apple had "willfully" violated three claims in a patent for predictive snooping of cache memory that helps shuttle information between a processor, its memory and other elements of a computer.



Begun in January 2007, the lawsuit is a classic example of a firm suing based on very broadly worded patents designed to catch out and collect royalties from as many firms as possible, regardless of whether they were actually aware of the patent. OPTi had filed a similar suit against AMD despite its making processors Apple and other companies don't use; it also dropped all of its original manufacturing and sales businesses in 2003 to concentrate on its lawsuits as a primary source of income.



Apple for its part had tried to thwart the plaintiff by claiming that the patent was invalid both through prior art and through the obviousness of the techniques involved. Judge Charles Everingham of the Marshall court rejected both arguments in his verdict, letting the patent stand.



The Mac maker in its typical fashion hasn't commented on the loss. However, OPTi has already gone on record as hoping to "realize licensing revenue" from Apple and other companies in the future.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 95
    Ouch! Well, this is what happens when Patents run rampant. Apple is just as guilty of pulling this kind of "patent everything" crap as OPTi (whoever the hell they are). Soon no company will be able to do anything without paying royalties to someone else.
  • Reply 2 of 95
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post


    Ouch! Well, this is what happens when Patents run rampant. Apple is just as guilty of pulling this kind of "patent everything" crap as OPTi (whoever the hell they are). Soon no company will be able to do anything without paying royalties to someone else.



    I wonder if I could put a Patent on "Patent Lawsuits" and collect royalties forever? One of the real problems here is the fact that the US Patent office is approving patents that they simply don't understand. Remember this is a division of the federal government and we aren't blessed with the brightest lightbulbs on the shelf.
  • Reply 3 of 95
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    I sure hope the patent reform legislation passes soon. And I am sick an tired of East Texas agreeing with almost every patent holder regardless of the situation. Patent trolls need to go away.
  • Reply 4 of 95
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macdanboy View Post


    I wonder if I could put a Patent on "Patent Lawsuits" and collect royalties forever? One of the real problems here is the fact that the US Patent office is approving patents that they simply don't understand. Remember this is a division of the federal government and we aren't blessed with the brightest lightbulbs on the shelf.



    absolute genius
  • Reply 5 of 95
    l008coml008com Posts: 163member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post


    absolute genius



    I don't get it though. Apple doesn't make processors, and chipsets... intel does. Why is Apple liable for this?
  • Reply 6 of 95
    The scariest patents are those trying to patent the human DNA or genetically-modified food. They need to stop. This isolationism in Corporate America only hinders innovation.
  • Reply 7 of 95
    Apple loves to sue others and warn others of not to use their patents. Apple should listen to themselves. Glad they lost 19$ million.
  • Reply 8 of 95
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    An Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division court handed down the amount on Thursday after ruling that Apple had "willfully" violated three claims in a patent for predictive snooping of cache memory that helps shuttle information between a processor, its memory and other elements of a computer.



    I don't see how Apple can legitimately be held liable for that, if it's really in regards to Apple's desktops, notebooks and servers. They didn't design or build the cache snooping, for the most part, they simply bought common parts and very likely wired them together in a standard way. Even the unusual variants that Apple gets doesn't seem to count.
  • Reply 9 of 95
    neilmneilm Posts: 640member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Begun in January 2007, the lawsuit is a classic example of a firm suing based on very broadly worded patents designed to catch out and collect royalties from as many firms as possible, regardless of whether they were actually aware of the patent.



    It's irrelevant whether a patent infringer is aware of the fact or not.
  • Reply 10 of 95
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by italiankid View Post


    Apple loves to sue others and warn others of not to use their patents. Apple should listen to themselves. Glad they lost 19$ million.



    In this case, all this means is that you don't know jack about microarchitecture or simply couldn't be bothered to read the article. Don't just praise an article you don't understand, even if you think you agree with it.



    Apple shouldn't be held responsible for patent infringement in parts they didn't design. If anyone should be held responsible, it's Intel.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NeilM View Post


    It's irrelevant whether a patent infringer is aware of the fact or not.



    I think it factors into punitive damages though, willful infringement would likely be given higher damages.
  • Reply 11 of 95
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    In this case, all this means is that you don't know jack about microarchitecture or simply couldn't be bothered to read the article. Don't just praise an article you don't understand, even if you think you agree with it.



    Apple shouldn't be held responsible for patent infringement in parts they didn't design. If anyone should be held responsible, it's Intel.







    I think it factors into punitive damages though, willful infringement would likely be given higher damages.



    I didn't read the boring article. I just saw that Apple was slapped with another fine lawsuit.
  • Reply 12 of 95
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    This is just a first result from a very patent-holder friendly district. It is meaningless first because it's what $19 million? That's nothing to Apple and defines the worst-case outcome of this case. More likely as the suit goes up through the appeals process and the not so patent-holder-friendly appeals courts get ahold of the invariable "judge screwed up interpretation of X, Y & Z items" and the case gets overturned.



    The value is small enough Apple might just pay it to make it go away, but it is also small enough a drawn-out appeals process may make the plantiff settle for less out of court so they don't loose everything on the appeal legal fees, let alone loose the judgement too.



    The decision on how this one goes forward has more to do with how Tim Cook's family life has been this past week than anything else really. If he's happy Apple probably pays up and moves on. If he's pissed, to-bad-so-sad this one goes to the wire on principle.
  • Reply 13 of 95
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by italiankid View Post


    I didn't read the boring article. I just saw that Apple was slapped with another fine lawsuit.



    So you just admitted you're a biased idiot who doesn't even read the stuff he's commenting on?



    Brilliant!
  • Reply 14 of 95
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    I don't see how Apple can legitimately be held liable for that, if it's really in regards to Apple's desktops, notebooks and servers. They didn't design or build the cache snooping, for the most part, they simply bought common parts and very likely wired them together in a standard way. Even the unusual variants that Apple gets doesn't seem to count.



    Maybe part of it is firmware or driver controlled that Apple wrote?



    Anyways, if the patent system is designed to grant patents for almost anything and rely on the legal system to sort it out after, the jury should at least be made up of people with relevant technical background. Kind of like peer-review reviewed journals. I just don't think the average person could judge whether one cache line access algorithm is similar to another. Either that or the entire patent system needs to be overhauled to fully judge the applicability of a patent at the application stage. Again, peer-review makes sense. Admittedly, it'll make the process slower, but that'll partially be offset by people no longer bothering to apply if they know it isn't defendable.
  • Reply 15 of 95
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unbeliever View Post


    So you just admitted you're a biased idiot who doesn't even read the stuff he's commenting on?



    Brilliant!



    on some issues yes. others no.
  • Reply 16 of 95
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post


    Ouch! Well, this is what happens when Patents run rampant. Apple is just as guilty of pulling this kind of "patent everything" crap as OPTi (whoever the hell they are). Soon no company will be able to do anything without paying royalties to someone else.



    Wait a minute....Apple is far more specific on its patents, and in many cases at least they have the ability to actually produce what they patent. In this case the patent holder deliberately patented an idea they could never produce, just to sit and wait for someone to produce it so they can show up at the door with their affidavit and hand out.
  • Reply 17 of 95
    stompystompy Posts: 338member
    The most telling phrase in this article

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    An Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division court



  • Reply 18 of 95
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,534member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by l008com View Post


    I don't get it though. Apple doesn't make processors, and chipsets... intel does. Why is Apple liable for this?



    Unlike most PC manufacturers, Apple doesn't just slap together parts designed by Intel and other companies. They design their own motherboards, and that includes some custom chips and chipsets.
  • Reply 19 of 95
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,534member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by italiankid View Post


    Apple loves to sue others and warn others of not to use their patents. Apple should listen to themselves. Glad they lost 19$ million.



    There is a big difference between what OPTi is doing and what Apple does. Apple actually brings real products to the marketplace. It's my opinion that a company has a right to protect their inventions if those inventions are used in real products in the marketplace. The real question here is: was the patent broadly-enough written that it was easy for Apple to infringe upon without even knowing through their own R&D?
  • Reply 20 of 95
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by italiankid View Post


    on some issues yes. others no.



    There is not much more to add when someone admits to their own idiocy.
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