Intel told to pay $2.2 billion in patent infringement lawsuit

midian182

Posts: 6,578   +58
Staff member
In a nutshell: Intel has been ordered to pay $2.18 billion in damages to VLSI Technology LLC, marking one of the largest awards in patent-infringement trial history.

As reported by Bloomberg Law, a jury in Waco, Texas, ruled that Intel must pay $1.5 billion for infringement of one patent and $675 million for the second. Tom's Hardware tracked down the processor-related patents in question, finding that the '759 patent' describes clock speed management, and the '373 patent' is a method to reduce the memory's minimum operating voltage.

NXP Semiconductors Inc. had owned the patents before VLSI bought them in 2019. The Dutch chipmaker, which was spun out of Philips, will receive a cut of the award. The patents were initially issued to Freescale Semiconductor Inc. and SigmaTel Inc. before NXP bought the firms.

Intel lawyer William Lee told jurors that VLSI, founded four years ago, has no products, and its only potential revenue is this lawsuit, suggesting the firm is a patent troll.

VLSI "took two patents off the shelf that hadn't been used for 10 years and said, 'We'd like $2 billion,'" said Lee. He added the "outrageous" demand "would tax the true innovators," and that $2.2 million would be a much fairer figure.

Intel said it disagrees with the decision, naturally. "We intend to appeal and are confident that we will prevail," the company stated.

While the jury said Intel was unaware it infringed on the patents, federal law states you don't need to know about a patent to infringe it. VLSI lawyer Morgan Chu said Intel purposely didn't check to see if someone else had patented the inventions, accusing the firm of "willful blindness."

While $2.2 billion would put many companies out of business, Intel made $77.9 billion in revenue last year.

Central image credit: Ascannio

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Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,014   +1,144
TechSpot Elite
"Intel said it disagrees with the decision, naturally. "We intend to appeal and are confident that we will prevail," the company stated."
- These words look awfully familiar... Oh yeah! They're the same ones that Intel has used only every single time that they've lost a court case. To this day, Intel still hasn't publicly accepted their guilt in all of the antitrust fines that they've been hit with.

Intel has lost in court so many times that it's impossible to believe that they're innocent of anything anymore.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
Just hard to believe Intel doesn't have their own attorney's to research this stuff before they jump in with both feet ..... of course it could have been a calculated risk they thought they could get away with .....
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,014   +1,144
TechSpot Elite
Just hard to believe Intel doesn't have their own attorney's to research this stuff before they jump in with both feet ..... of course it could have been a calculated risk they thought they could get away with .....
That's been Intel's MO over the past 20 years. Do something wrong, get sued and drag it through the courts until it no longer matters. That's what they did to AMD.
 

brucek

Posts: 743   +1,014
TechSpot Elite
If I was confident that patents were awarded only for true investment and real advances, I'd applaud this instance of an underdog being protected from being ripped off by a lazy grifter looking to steal their work.

Unfortunately, I suspect it's at least as likely that the "underdogs" are venture capitalists and patent attornies who speculated on bulk patients on the cheap; that the patents in question are for ordinary thoughts that anyone looking to work in this area would come to in-between meetings in the course of a week; and that the jury of laypeople had little chance of making a well-founded judgment in a highly specialized technical field for which they have no background or training.

As usual, I suspect its only the lawyers that routinely win, with everyone else losing; and with consumers likely to get future products in which the patents are worked around by using a slightly different, slightly sub-optimal approach whose only virtue is to avoid a patent landmine that represented little in the way of true innovation or investment.
 

franticfrosty

Posts: 101   +117
Wait... Wait... you telling me I could open up a company and get some patents then sue every company on the planet for $20 Trillion because they didn't pay me patents that didnt exist until today... Damn...

Didn't think anyone would be smart enough to find a way to make an easy $2.2 Billion without any outgoings now thats smart
 

brucek

Posts: 743   +1,014
TechSpot Elite
Sure you could do that, in the same sense you could become a multi-hundred-millionaire by buying a lottery ticket. Most old patents will not win the lottery, and you need to buy a great many of them and be willing to spend a great deal on lawyers to have a realistic shot. Even then any jury decision is a crapshoot and the first one is followed by likely years of appeals. Unless you already have a ton of money, your chances are better trying to create real value with a real startup.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 116   +116
I think patents confer a necessary advantage to a person or company that invents something new, but that patent also represents an advancement of human technology and as such I think patents should be short lived, 5 years would be where I would start.

Capitalise on your new idea, deliver your product and be rewarded for it, but after 5 years other people should be allowed to take what is now accepted technology or techniques and apply it in new and creative ways or optimise its production etc.
 

jpuroila

Posts: 314   +177
I think patents confer a necessary advantage to a person or company that invents something new, but that patent also represents an advancement of human technology and as such I think patents should be short lived, 5 years would be where I would start.

Capitalise on your new idea, deliver your product and be rewarded for it, but after 5 years other people should be allowed to take what is now accepted technology or techniques and apply it in new and creative ways or optimise its production etc.
For an established company, delivering a product that actually capitalizes on the innovation behind said patent can easily take 2-4 years. If you're starting from scratch, it can easily take more than 5 years to deliver a product(obviously these numbers are industry-dependent and there are a great many other factors, but I believe this is the general ballpark for hardware). Maybe 10 or 15 years would be more appropriate than 20(or maybe it should depend on the nature of the innovation), but 5 years seems awfully short
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,554   +666
If you can't build the product or pay somebody to build it in a specified period of time, I don't believe you should be able to keep it in order to sue somebody who later made it a reality. Patent laws need to be amended in my opinion. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Actual products from the patents? Not so much.
 

misor

Posts: 1,415   +319
If you can't build the product or pay somebody to build it in a specified period of time, I don't believe you should be able to keep it in order to sue somebody who later made it a reality. Patent laws need to be amended in my opinion. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Actual products from the patents? Not so much.
maybe there should also be a 'fair usage policy' for patents with no actual product in the market, for a minimal and fair fee.

innovation is held up by patent trolls.
 
This IS a troll lawsuit. 2.2 Billion for an old BS patent? GTFO!

We need laws against these Patent Trolls, and need to prosecute these slimy lawyers and make sure they can never abuse the legal system for such scummy scams.