Uh oh! It seems Apple has been bringing out so many new products with new features recently that it has forgotten about a little matter called patents. A company named Opti Inc. is the winner here, with a technology they patented called "Predictive snooping". Ars Technica has the story, and the fine for Apple is a hefty $19,008,728. The number seems strangely precise.
The patent, which is fully named "Predictive snooping of cache memory for master-initiated accesses" is for a method that allows more efficient data transfer between the memory, CPU and other devices. Opti had filed the patent back in 2002, and initiated a lawsuit against Apple back in 2007. Apple did admit to using a technology similar to this, but argued that it should not hold up in court because of "prior art and obviousness." As you can tell, the jury didn't buy it, and Apple was slapped with a fine.
Whilst $19 million won't put much of a dent in Apple's near-$30 billion bank balance, it's a good reminder that even the biggest of companies can still be defeated by the smaller. It's also a reminder that companies need to perform the comprehensive patent searches they can, lest they be forced to pay out more money or have other compromises.