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Intel defeats VLSI Technologies in $3.1 Billion Patent Dispute

May 6, 2021

A U.S. Jury on April 21, 2021, ruled in favor of Intel Corp in a patent infringement lawsuit filed against it by VLSI Technology LLC[1]. VLSI had sought $3.1 billion in damages. The verdict was issued by the federal jury in Waco, Texas. It is one of the biggest patent damages awarded in U.S. history[2].

The VLSI Technology LLC, originally an integrated circuit manufacturer in the 1990s, today is a non-practicing, patent-owning entity, an affiliate unit of the hedge fund Fortress Investment Group.

VLSI had sued Intel in April 2019, claiming that almost 1 billion microchips sold by Intel infringing its two patents.

The two patents in question were U.S. Patent Nos. 7,523,373 and 7,725,759[3] were previously owned by Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors Inc.

Later, these patent cases were transferred to VLSI in 2019[4].

Patent No. First Application Date Grant Date Title Brief Standardized Assignees Legal Status
US 7,523,373 2006-08-30 2009-04-21 Minimum memory operating voltage technique Embodiments herein relate generally to memories, and more specifically, to a minimum memory operating voltage technique. VLSI TECHNOLOGY GRANTED, ALIVE
US 7,725,759 2005-06-29 2010-05-25 System and method of managing clock speed in an electronic device The present disclosure relates to electronic devices and to managing clock speeds within electronic devices. VLSI TECHNOLOGY GRANTED, ALIVE

Each of the patents is based on “Speed Shift” technology, which relates to increasing the power and speed of computer processors[5]. Further, it can be defined as a method that uses less energy and makes the performance of the processor and its output more efficient[6].

The verdict is the second in a series of three trials over VLSI’s Patents. On March 2, 2021, the jury in Waco, eventually agreed for entering a verdict of $2.18 billion damages for VLSI, in the patent-infringement trial. However, Intel denied infringing either of the patents and argued that one patent was invalid because it claimed to cover work done by their engineers for years. Intel intended to appeal the $2.18 billion verdicts and a third trial is focused on different patents is scheduled for June[7].

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[1] https://www.reuters.com/technology/intel-defeats-vlsi-technology-31-bln-patent-trial-2021-04-21/

[2] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-02/intel-told-to-pay-2-18-billion-after-losing-texas-patent-trial

[3] https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2021/04/22/will-2-18-billion-verdict-vlsi-technologies-v-intel-impact-future-patent-valuations/id=132596/

[4] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-02/intel-told-to-pay-2-18-billion-after-losing-texas-patent-trial

[5] https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2021/04/22/will-2-18-billion-verdict-vlsi-technologies-v-intel-impact-future-patent-valuations/id=132596/

[6] https://www.techtimes.com/articles/259378/20210421/intel-wins-patent-lawsuit-worth-3-1b-against-vlsi-claims.htm

[7] https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-wins-patent-vlsi-lawsuit

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