Apple Hit With Patent-Infringement Lawsuit

Opti wants a bite of Apple.

The Mountain View, Calif., maker of controller chips for PCs and LCD monitors has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple (AAPL), claiming the IT giant has been unfairly using Opti technology in its Macintosh line and its Xserve servers.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims that Apple used Opti-patented "predictive snooping" technology, which involves the transfer of data from a PCI bus controller to a PCI master bus. This piece of technology helps shorten the delay in data transfer within a microprocessor.

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"The complaint alleges that Apple has infringed the patents by making, selling and offering for sale desktop and portable computers and servers incorporating Predictive Snooping," Opti said in a statement.

The lawsuit was nearly identical to one Opti filed against Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in November. The three U.S. Patent numbers referenced in the two lawsuits were also the same: 5,710,906; 5,813,036; and 6,405,291.

All three patents refer to "Predictive Snooping of Cache Memory for Master-Initiated Accesses."

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Jan. 18. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages, according to the Opti statement.

A spokesperson for Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., could not be immediately reached for comment.

Apple has found itself in its share of legal difficulties lately. After Apple announced its iPhone on Jan. 16 at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Cisco Systems (CSCO) in turn announced a lawsuit claiming it has the legal right to the name "iPhone."

In its lawsuit, Cisco claims that it tried to negotiate with Apple to use the name, which Cisco acquired seven years ago when it bought InfoGear, but negotiations went nowhere.

An Apple spokesperson called the Cisco lawsuit "silly."

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