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Tuesday, December 07, 2010, 03:05 pm PT (06:05 pm ET)

Apple drops appeal of $21.7 million OPTi patent suit

One day prior to its scheduled hearing, Apple has dropped its appeal of a $21.7 million patent infringement case won against it by OPTi Inc last year.

OPTi originally sued Apple for $19 million over broadly worded patents related to "predictive snooping" of memory caches that speed the flow of data between a system's memory and processor.

OPTi dropped its manufacturing business to become a full time patent-suing operation in 2003. It has also filed a similar suit against chip maker AMD. Apple attempted to defend itself by claiming that the patents were invalid both through prior art and through the obviousness of the techniques involved.

However, the suit was brought by OPTi to the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division court, which is notorious for catering to patent trolls. Judge Charles Everingham rejected both of Apple's arguments in his verdict, letting the patent stand.

Emboldened by its win last winter, OPTI said it intended to "realize licensing revenue" from other companies. It also sought and won an additional $2.7 million in interest fees on its original patent case against Apple, bringing OPTi's haul to $21.7 million.

Apple appealed the decision last December, but after spending a year on its appeal, has settled with OPTi and filed a joint motion to dismiss the appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which approved the agreement, accord to a report by Bloomberg.

The terms of the agreement leading to the dismissal of the appeal were not made public, and neither Apple nor OPTi responded to requests for comment from Bloomberg. In April, AMD agreed to pay OPTi $32 million to settle its parallel infringement suit.

Last October, Apple noted in its 10K filing that it was 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."

A recent report noted that according to LegalMetric, Apple has been the most-sued technology company since 2008, the year after its original iPhone hit the market.