This week: Both floors of the best little courthouse in Texas have been busy—producing very different results.
Taking A Big Bite Out of Apple
OPTi, Inc. v. Apple, Inc.
07-cv-00021, E.D. Texas (Marshall), filed 1/17/2007.
OPTi Inc. is a Palo Alto company that used to manufacture chipsets for computers. In 2002, after Intel decided to stop using OPTi’s chipsets, the company shuttered its operations and moved into the patent-licensing business. Since then, as OPTi said in its SEC filings, the company has been “engaged in perfecting its intellectual property position" by investigating the unlicensed use of its technology, and filing lawsuits against alleged infringers. As of now, OPTi—still a public company, although it's not traded on any major exchange—has only one full-time employee: CEO Bernard Marren. (The OPTi we discuss here should not be confused with OPTI Canada, an operating energy company.)
Last week, OPTi wrapped up the first jury trial of its new incarnation—and wound up a winner. In ruling for OPTi and against Apple, a Marshall jury awarded the former more than $19 million for willfull infringement. It's a remarkable victory, in part because the jury gave the plaintiff exactly what it had asked for and accepted its testimony on damages wholesale. OPTi's lawyers interviewed by TPA said Apple’s expert witnesses suggested that—if the computer maker had infringed—it only owed OPTi about $300,000.