Apple ordered to pay damages in chip optimization patent case

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Apple has been ordered to pay over $21.5 million in damages to Opti, according to a press release (PDF link) published on the latter company’s website.

The final judgement, entered last week by Judge Chad Everingham in the patent holder-friendly Eastern District of Texas (Marshall division), awarded Palo Alto, CA-based Opti the sum of $19 million for Apple’s infringement of three claims of a a patent on predictive memory access and caching, as well as an additional $2.7 million in pre-judgment interest.

As previously reported, the lawsuit was originally filed in January of 2007 and went to trial in April of this year. Opti claimed that various (and unspecified) Apple products infringe on its patent by using a memory access technology known as “predictive snooping,” which improves CPU performance by essentially guessing which portions of memory will need to be accessed and caching them ahead of time.

Although the court has sided with Opti on the infringement case, it also found that Apple did not willfully violate the patent holder’s rights‚ a claim that would have opened the door to additional damages.

Opti, which licenses intellectual property to a number of different companies, is also pursuing a legal action on the same patent against AMD. That lawsuit is scheduled for trial starting in February of 2010.

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