Apple to appeal after OPTi's $21.7m patent infringement win
Apple has been told to pay OPTi $21.7m in damages after an Eastern Texas Court issued a final judgment in the firm's long-running patent infringement case.
But reports this morning suggest the Mac maker's next move will be sending an appeal to the ruling, rather than a cheque.
The final judgment, issued last week, determines that Apple infringed three claims in silicon IP firm OPTi's US Patent No 6.405,291.
The judgement awarded OPTi royalties of $19m in actual damages, plus interest of $2.7m.
However, it also found that there was no "wilful infringement" and denied a request for reimbursement of lawyers' fees.
OPTi first brought the case in January 2007, claiming that Apple had infringed its patents covering its "pre-snoop" technology for cache memory.
OPTi has already announced plans to go after other companies it believes has infringed its patents. A trial against AMD is set for next February, covering alleged use of the pre-snoop technology in the vendor's CPUs and core logic products. ®
"denied a request for reimbursement of lawyers' fees"
So al any other company has to do is calculate the probable award (based on this case) and then tell OPTI they will drag the case out until their lawyer costs exceed the probably award forcing OPTI to settle out of court for significantly less.
Now THAT's justice.
Of course, a simple way to escalate this problem from accidental infringement to "wilful infringement" would be to have notified infringing parties of the patent and seek proper recourse. Upon continued denials for royalties, it could have been persued as "wilful infringement" and won. ...but I'm not a patent lawyer.
"What the hell has "wilful infringement" got to do with anything? This isn't manslaughter vs murder, you aren't less accountable for patent infringement because "you didn't mean to do it". The infringers intent should have no bearing whatsoever, this is about recouping damage."
Actually, it has a great deal to do with it.
If the infringement is accidental, then the infringer pays only the damages.
If the infringement is intentional (willful), the infringer has to pay the damages, but can also be forced to pay legal fees and penalties (up to 3 times the amount of the damages, IIRC).
Although in this case, I hope Apple wins on appeal. Even if the patent is valid, the people who made the chips (IBM, Motorola, Intel, etc) are the ones who are guilty, not Apple.
Even with this award, though, it's not likely to cost Apple anything. I'd be shocked if there's nothing in their supply contract that indemnifies them against patent awards like this, so the chip manufacturers will probably have to reimburse Apple.
What "intent" has to do with it is that, if the infringement was "wilful" then the penalties are much higher. The judge is that that this case does not merit an enhanced penalty.
I fully agree with you about the U.S. patent system. Totally borked
More litigation in EDTX
"Surely this will discourage the little guy from going after the big guy?"
No, that's why it was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, the IT patent abuse Mecca. XML patent suit against Microsoft? EDTX. Etc. Etc.
"It's saying: yes that's your IP, but it could cost you millions to protect it."
It's a start, but until Congress fo SCOTUS does something significant to stop this, it'll continue to be a treasure trove. The related story today about the "green" patent express finally clears up the details for me. A lot of these "green" technologies still aren't economically viable. But for the lawyers, there's a treasure there if every single thing can be patented and litigated. And, it makes sense, considering who the big donors to the DNC are....