Intel Ordered to Pay $2.18 Billion to VLSI Technology

By Bill Toulas / March 3, 2021

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has decided to rule in favor of VLSI Technology in a case of patent infringement against Intel. According to the verdict, Intel was confirmed to have violated U.S. patents number 7,523,373 and 7,725759, although not willfully, so VLSI’s claims have received the court’s approval.

The damage amount awarded for the first patent is $1,500,000,000, and for the second, it’s $675,000,000. So, in total, Intel is called to pay almost $2.18 billion to VLSI. For Intel, this was an obvious disappointment since the plaintiffs are exclusively engaged in patent litigation, having no products or other revenue sources. Thus, they cannot logically claim market losses due to infringement.

Indeed, VLSI Technology LLC has formed just four years ago, bought the particular patents from NXP Semiconductors in 2017, who had, in turn, acquired them from Freescale Semiconductor in 2015.

The first patent concerns a method of a voltage-based memory operation in integrated circuitry. In contrast, the second patent describes a method of actively controlling and modulating the clock frequency depending on the performance and computational requirements.

Both sound very generic, and indeed Intel argued that its engineers actually invented their own way of accomplishing the above. Still, the Texan jury apparently found their implementation too similar to VLSI’s ownership.

Obviously, Intel isn’t just going to pay the whopping amount now, and there’s certainly a long way of litigation to cover still. For starters, they will ask the judge to consider whether the jury misapplied the law.

If that doesn’t go as the chip-maker hopes, they will appeal the case to the supreme court. If that fails as well, then VLSI will have won. Even if the ruling is upheld, the compensation amounts may be revised so Intel could end up paying less or more in the end.

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