Texas court orders Intel to pay $2.18 billion for two patent infringements
Intel has been involved in quite a few litigations over the past couple of decades, and some of these, like the $1.2 billion fine for antitrust behavior against AMD ruled in 2009, are still disputed in court to this day. However, that antitrust fee pales in comparison to what the alleged recent patent violations invoked by VLSI would amount to in damages. Just yesterday, a Texas federal jury in Waco ruled that Intel has to pay $2.18 billion to semiconductor design firm VLSI for violating two patents. Those are just a couple of more obvious violations, though, as VLSI has already sued Intel in California, Delaware and Texas for as many as eight violations that could ultimately cost Intel up to $11 billion.
Waco Tribune-Herald and Tom’s Hardware note that one of the patents (759) relates to clock speed management and is supposed to represent $1.5 billion in damages, while the other one (373) describes a method to reduce the minimum voltage for memory and totals just $675 million in damages. The other six patent violations are supposed to amount to $7.1 billion, and Intel must also consider future royalties, attorney’s fees, interests, procedure costs etc., which could amount to $1.7 billion if VLSI manages to win the entire case.
Of course, Intel strongly disagrees with the ruling and is confident that it could prevail with a future appeal. The semiconductor giant also claims that VLSI is a mere patent hoarder and all of its revenues are obtained through such lawsuits. The two patents invoked in yesterday’s ruling were bought by VLSI from NXP Semiconductors, but they originated with Freescale Semiconductor Inc. and SigmaTel Inc.
Given Intel’s current appeal track record, the VLSI case could drag on for years. Still, Intel could be better off just paying VLSI damages for a few of these infringements. What is a few billion when your 2020 revenue amounted to almost $80 billion?