Friday, 05 March 2021 15:22

Intel Ordered to Pay a Whopping $2.18 Billion in Patent Infringement Suit

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On March 2, 2021, a Texas jury ordered Intel to pay VLSI Technology LLC $2.18 billion in damages for patent infringement, one of the largest patent awards in U.S. history. The two patents at-issue are directed towards methods for increasing the power and speed of computer chips, and have a history of switching corporate hands. Before reaching VLSI, the patents-in-suit were owned by NXP Semiconductors Inc., a company that branched off from Philips, and Freescale Semiconductor, another company that spun off from Motorola. NXP acquired the patents when it bought Freescale, and they were transferred to VLSI in 2019.

Intel maintained at trial that it did not infringe the subject matter of the patents, but rather had invented its own techniques to improve chip performance. However, the jury decided otherwise and returned a verdict in favor of VLSI. Intel strongly opposes the outcome, plans to appeal, and maintains that VLSI has no products or sources of revenue aside from patent litigation. Still, Intel can breathe a small sigh of relief in the shadow of the massive judgment–had the jury found willful infringement, the judge could have increased the damage award up to three times.

Intel has dominated the billion-dollar chip industry for several decades. The damage award is reportedly equal to approximately half of Intel’s fourth-quarter profit and, while still up 23% on the year, Intel stock has fallen 2.6% since the verdict. On the other hand, of course, VLSI stated it is “extremely happy” with the result.

This case is VLSI Technology LLC v. Intel Corporation (Case No. 6:21-cv-0057-ADA) in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division.

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Kelly Malloy

 

Ms. Malloy earned her bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida, and is currently a J.D. Candidate at the University of Miami School of Law concentrating on intellectual property.  At Miami Law, Ms. Malloy is on the University of Miami Law Review and serves as President of the Intellectual Property Law Society, President of the Inter-Club Council, and Executive Board Secretary of the Student Bar Association. During her first year at Miami Law, Ms. Malloy also served as a 1L Senator and was selected to join the Society of Bar and Gavel. As a result of her dedication to her coursework, Ms. Malloy is in the top 10% of her class, received the Dean’s Merit Scholarship, and was awarded the Dean’s Certificate of Achievement in her Patent Law course. Ms. Malloy is a law clerk at the firm and assists attorneys by drafting patent applications, performing legal research, and preparing for litigation.