Apple has been ordered to pay $19m in damages, having been found guilty of “willfully” infringing a patent concerning efficient data transfer. The patent, “Predictive snooping of cache memory for master-initiated accesses”, was issued to Opti Inc. in June 2002; they filed a suit against Apple in January 2007 for alleged infringement.
Apple contested that their own technology was similar, but not to the point that infringement had occurred, and argued that prior art and obviousness should make the Opti patent invalid. The jury at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas didn’t agree, however, deciding on damages of $19,009,728 as “reasonable royalty for infringement”.
That’s a mere 1.5-percent of Apple’s profit from just the first three months of this year, so it’s unlikely anybody at their Cupertino base will be going without new pencils as a result. However it’s likely to give many other companies something to smile about: Apple is notorious for its quick-draw legal action, making itself few friends in the process.