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Tuesday, December 08, 2009, 05:05 am PT (08:05 am ET)

Apple appeals $21.7 million patent infringement decision

After a patent holder was awarded $21.7 million from Apple last week over technology related to cache memory, the Mac maker has officially appealed the court's decision.

On Dec. 4, Apple filed its formal appeal in the case. OPTi Inc was awarded the money when a Texas court determined that Apple violated three claims in the patent, which describes a system for predictive snooping of cache memory that helps shuttle information between a processor, its memory, and other elements of a computer.

Patent suits are often filed in the Eastern District of Texas for favorable rulings.

OPTIi has a similar, ongoing lawsuit against chip maker AMD, filed in July of 2007. OPTi's suits relate to the ownership of patent No. 6,405,291. The suit against Apple was first filed in January of 2007.

OPTi reportedly dropped all of its original manufacturing and sales businesses in 2003 to concentrate on lawsuits.

Last week, OPTi announced that the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas added $2.7 million to its damages in pre-judgment interest costs. That was tacked on to the $19 million Apple was ordered to pay in April.

As a major corporation, Apple is usually bombarded with lawsuits. In October, the company noted that it was then defending itself from more than 47 patent infringement cases, 27 of which were filed during the fiscal year. The company said that responding to claims, regardless of merit, consumes "significant time and expense."