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Intel next target as Opti sues Apple over CPUs?

Same patent infringement claim AMD faces

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Apple has become the latest target of technology holding company Opti, two months after AMD also found itself on the recieving end of an Opti lawsuit alleging infringement.

Opti's lawsuit, filed with the US District Court for Eastern Texas yesterday, claims Apple makes and sells products that incorporate its technology, enshrined in three US patents: 5,710,906, 5,813,036 and 6,405,291, all entitled "Predictive Snooping of Cache Memory for Master-Initiated Accesses". The first two patents were awarded in 1998, the third in 2002. The later patents represent continuations of the first one.

To date, Opti has focused on chip makers rather than those companies' customers, and a cynic might suggest the firm initiated its action only after reading about Apple's spectacular Q1 FY2007 results earlier this week.

While Apple has used AMD chips in the past - and may still do - for peripheral products, such as its AirPort Wi-Fi base-stations, the Opti suit refers to Apple's "desktop and portable computers and servers", all of which now contain Intel processors.

Has Intel been sued by Opti? Did it settle? Is another Opti lawsuit in the offing? We don't know, and we await with interest Intel's response to these questions.

AMD received its Opti lawsuit in November 2006, three months after Opti and Nvidia settled out of court, the conclusion of a complaint filed by Opti in October 2004. Nvidia will pay Opti $750,000 a quarter from February onwards for a three-year period, or simply cough up a one-off payment of $7m.

AMD is currently facing a separate claim that its 3DNow! technology violates patents held by MicroUnity. Apple is, of course, facing a trademark infringement claim from Cisco over the use of the word 'iPhone'. ®

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