Court slashes damages in chip patent case

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Court slashes damages in chip patent case

A U.S. District Court in Texas has drastically reduced a multi-million dollar jury award against three computer firms charged with patent infringement.

Last May, OPTi, Inc., TriTech Microelectronics Pte Ltd. of Singapore and its American marketing subsidiary, TriTech Microelectronics International, were ordered to pay a total of $48.5 million in damages for infringing three patents owned Crystal Semiconductor, a division of Cirrus Logic Inc. The patents relate to the analog to digital coder-decoder, or “codec” circuitry used in various audio chips, including those used in the sound systems of personal computers.

The court’s action lowered OPTi’s share of the judgment from $19.4 million to $4 million. The total amount still owed by the two TriTech firms was not immediately available.

The court judgment includes a permanent injunction against further infringement. OPTi, however, is no longer in the audio chip business, having sold its audio division to Creative Technology in November 1997. Further details about the company are available at