One of the highest prizes ever seen in the patent court
Intel was ordered to pay $2.18 billion in restitution to VLSI Technology LLC, representing one of the highest settlements in the history of patent infringement litigation.
As reported by Bloomberg Law, a jury in Waco, Texas, found that Intel had to pay $1.5 billion for infringement of one patent and $675 million for infringement of the second. Tom’s Hardware tracked the processor-related patents in question, discovering that the ‘759 patent‘ defines clock speed control, and the ‘373 patent‘ is a way to minimise the minimum operating voltage of the memory.
NXP Semiconductors Inc. held the patents until VLSI acquired them in 2019. A cut of the award will be given to the Dutch chipmaker, who was spun out of Philips. Patents were initially granted to Freescale Semiconductor Inc. and SigmaTel Inc. prior to the purchase of the companies by NXP.
Intel lawyer William Lee told jurors that VLSI, founded four years ago, has no products, and its only potential revenue is this lawsuit, suggesting that VLSI is a patent troll.
VLSI “took two patents off the shelf that had not been used for 10 years and said, ‘We’d like 2 billion dollars,’ Lee said. He added that “outrageous” demand would tax the true innovators, and that $2.2 million would be a much fairer figure.
Intel said, of course, that it disagreed with the decision. “We intend to appeal and are confident that we will prevail,” the company said.
While the jury said Intel was unaware of the infringement of patents, federal law states that you do not need to know about a patent in order to infringe it. VLSI lawyer Morgan Chu said that Intel had purposely not checked to see if someone else had patented the inventions and accused the firm of “voluntary blindness.”
While $2.2 billion would put many companies out of business, last year Intel made $77.9 billion in revenue.
Central image credit: Ascannio