Tuesday, March 2nd 2021

Intel Fined 2 Billion USD In Damages For Patent Infringement

A federal jury in Texas has ruled that Intel Corporation violated two patents of VLSI Technology and must pay 2.18 billion USD in damages. The damages include 1.5 billion for one patent and 675 million for the other. The patents are related to clock frequency control and minimum memory operating voltage technique and were awarded to Freescale Semiconductor Inc in 2012 and SigmaTel in 2010. Freescale bought SigmaTel gaining control of the two patents before being passed to NXP after the company acquired Freescale in 2015, these patents were then transferred to the newly resurrected VLSI Technology in 2019 with the sole purpose of launching a legal battle against Intel. In a comment to Tom's Hardware the company said "Intel strongly disagrees with today's jury verdict. We intend to appeal and are confident that we will prevail.". This legal battle will likely drag-out for several years as Intel plans to appeal the recent ruling. Intel recorded a net income of 5.9 billion USD in Q4 2020 so this fine is by no means insignificant.
Source: Seeking Alpha
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62 Comments on Intel Fined 2 Billion USD In Damages For Patent Infringement

#1
hat
Enthusiast
Patent trolling again? And why would they start a new company just to hand two patents to so it can start a legal battle with Intel? Why didn't NXP do it themselves?
Posted on Reply
#2
Caring1
hat
Patent trolling again? And why would they start a new company just to hand two patents to so it can start a legal battle with Intel? Why didn't NXP do it themselves?
Liability for costs if they lost?
Posted on Reply
#3
londiste
Can anyone find what are the actual patents involved? Quick look at the linked story and one linked to that did not reveal any useful details.
Posted on Reply
#4
tomc100
When it rains it pours.
Posted on Reply
#6
Smartcom5
londiste
Can anyone find what are the actual patents involved? Quick look at the linked story and one linked to that did not reveal any useful details.
Courtlistener is always a stunningly good source on thinks like that! Bookmark it in case you may run dry on sauce …
Here's the link for the initial complaint filed by VLSI:
www.courtlistener.com/docket/14917461/1/vlsi-technology-llc-v-intel-corporation/

Of course, due to the nature of the matter of it, it's highly technical and cryptic in layman's terms. Though I take it that it's a solid non-issue for y'all freaks here.
There are essentially 3 patents in question here already. Shamelessly stealing here from /u/CyberpunkDre (kudos chap!);

Mind you, each claim starts and ends with standard legal jargon but the middle of each has inserts of Intel presentations on the "infringing" technology and how VLSI alleges that the named technology is what is described in the patent.
  1. First Claim Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,156,357
    Intel products that use dynamic cache shrink technology in an infringing manner.
    Link to the patent in question: → patents.google.com/patent/US8156357B2/en
  2. Second Claim Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,523,373
    Intel products that use fuses or other non-volatile memory to store information about SRAM minimum voltages in an infringing manner.
    Link to the patent in question: → patents.google.com/patent/US7523373B2/en
  3. Third Claim Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,725,759
    Intel products that use infringing Hardware-Controlled Performance States (“HWP” or “Speed Shift”) technology
    Link to the patent in question: → patents.google.com/patent/US7725759B2/en
Posted on Reply
#7
Mussels
Moderprator
patent trolls exist just to slow down technology progress, i swear
Posted on Reply
#8
ARF
Mussels
patent trolls exist just to slow down technology progress, i swear
You have to pay when you use someone else's invention. When you don't pay in time, you steal, they catch you and you pay more later because they sue you :D
Posted on Reply
#9
Smartcom5
hat
Patent trolling again? And why would they start a new company just to hand two patents to so it can start a legal battle with Intel? Why didn't NXP do it themselves?
Don't get me wrong, but whenever someone starts slinging that mud saying someone may be patently obvious trolling when claiming some patents have been violated, I'm always amused that the majority of people in a knee-jerk reaction hop onto that blame-train and stick to the status quo – especially if the accused one in question is a more prominent U.S. based rogue ruthless big business.

Since if the past has shown anything on lawsuits, it's that most accused ones were always quick to blame the other side of the same – when in fact the initially accused one was to blame and actually violated given patents being claimed having violated. Care for an example?

Just take Qualcomm vs Apple – and how Apple's sole intention was, to harm Qualcomm's business from the get-go already years in advance prior to any law-suits, how they gave away Qualcomm's confidential IP they have been granted in confidence to Intel (so that Intel could build their own modems using Qualcomm's technology) and whatnot.

'Member how Intel was recently sued by the well-reknown Chinese Academy of Science for violating their patents on FinFets, and how they only asked for $ 28 million (yes, you read rightly; only 0.028 billion for violating the most crucial bunch of patents of today's underlying chip-technology) to solve the issue altogether forever? You know what happened instead? Intel went on to try get all of the disputed patents being recognised as invalid. So the pretty legitimate question remains on the given ?… but why, Intel?!?.

The question remains, when it isn't that much and can be considered peanuts already for Intel (no doubt about it; they likely pay even more for post-stamps per year already), then why on earth is it that Intel has tried various attempts in getting said patents in question being disputed and recognised as being invalid.
On April 24, 2018, the Beijing High Court held a hearing, and the trial date has not yet been set. During this time, Intel has done a lot of work in response to litigation. In March 2018, Intel filed an invalid application for finFET patents with the Review Commission for the first time, and in September of that year, the Review Commission organized a oral review. On January 31 the following year, the Review Commission issued a review decision to maintain the validity of the FinFET invention patent. Intel then filed a finFET patent invalid application with the Review Board for the second time. The invalid review is still ongoing, has been oral, and the review decision has not yet been issued.
At the same time, in September 2018 and March 2019, Intel filed two applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for FinFET patents, and U.S. equivalent patents 9070719 (“719 Patents”) are invalid. USPTO rejected Intel’s application in March and September 2019, respectively. Intel did not accept this result, and in April and November 2019, respectively, filed a review request and petition with the USPTO and its POP to challenge the USPTO’s review decision. In January 2020, the USPTO rejected Intel’s request for a review in April 2019 In June, the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeals Commission (“PTAB”) rejected Intel’s request for a retrial.
So in other words, Intel has tried several times, in the U.S. and China, to recognise the patents in questions as being invalidated. All of those filings for action for annulment and nullity suits (in favour of Intel) were rejected nonetheless (to the detriment of Intel itself), several times in a row – even by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office itself. Doesn't that speak a lot for itself already, that there are in fact valid accusations towards Intel of IP-theft?

The answer is: Since they know they did so and were actually accused rightfully and do everything in their power for not being possibly held accountable, if such cases of accusations could turn out to be true confirmed to be actual truth in court in the first place.

When even the U.S. itself wants to recognise given claims of Intel and outright denied them the favour of annulments. … and that was already when our all saviour bold perm was still in charge, midn you.

Sadly, Intel has a history of intellectual property thefts. Bigger examples are Intergraph (twice!) and a multi-billion settlement with then Digital Equipment Corporation (wonder how Intel regained the performance crown and kept it for so long?). Ever heard of Cyrix and how Intel stole a shipload of their technology on energy-saving mechanism? We could go on for hours, you got the idea.

… and just between ourselves, tech-geeks these days; If anyone needs to be explained who's likely the one having violated patents when the accusant in question is of all things VLSI Technology (one of the hatcheries of the silicon industry on ASIC-logics and whatnot), than people in question need to be beaten with Smith's ?An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations? and Keynes' ?The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money?, and hopefully slapped with Wooldridge & Greenspan's ?Capitalism in America: A History? afterwards – especially if the accused one is once more Intel.

That being said, given Intel's past, it's pretty save to assume that Intel is rightfully accused here (once more). Point's made.
This company has invalidated every single benefit of doubt for every given future – by their countless shady and straight-out harmful to evil anti-competitive actions.
Posted on Reply
#10
Mussels
Moderprator
ARF
You have to pay when you use someone else's invention. When you don't pay in time, you steal, they catch you and you pay more later because they sue you :D
there comes a point where vague patents and incredibly precise engineering requirements clash.

When it comes to the billions of transistors in a CPU and the complexity of designing them, OF COURSE you're gunna overlap someones weird ass patent on a barely related topic without knowing it sooner or later

It's gotta be proved they knew of the patent before designing it, before billions of dollars should be splashed around (like an ex-employee stole the tech, that sort of thing)
Posted on Reply
#11
tehehe
Patents are the reason you don't have more companies competing. You can't just start your own CPU company today unless you already have big defensive patent portfolio and cash buffer for patent trolls. It is basically true in every dimension in economy. IP is cancer and is incompatible with private property.
Posted on Reply
#12
Smartcom5
Mussels
patent trolls exist just to slow down technology progress, i swear
Dude, VLSI Technologies is not a patent-troll. If you even need to get explained who VLSI actually is, chances are you have no clue what you're talking about.
VLSI already won. So chances are too, that the claims were seen as largely valid before court and by the judge – They in fact already are by law, hence Intel has to pay.

Also, show me those law-suits and court-rulings which Intel didn't tried to appeal on in any past, when they were found guilty and in fact truly were.
There are none, not a single one. Intel appeals everything by default, no matter the case or how overwhelmingly evident their own wrongdoings are.
Posted on Reply
#13
Caring1
tehehe
Patents are the reason you don't have more companies competing. You can't just start your own CPU company today unless you already have big defensive patent portfolio and cash buffer for patent trolls. It is basically true in every dimension in economy. IP is cancer and is incompatible with private property.
Patents are what keeps a company unique and drives their income, allow anyone to take and use those ideas and the net worth decreases.
Posted on Reply
#14
ZoneDymo
tehehe
Patents are the reason you don't have more companies competing. You can't just start your own CPU company today unless you already have big defensive patent portfolio and cash buffer for patent trolls. It is basically true in every dimension in economy. IP is cancer and is incompatible with private property.
sooo if you spend billions of dollars and thousands of hours to develop a method of tackling a certain problem allowing you to make something you can sell and then I just simple copy paste that and start making the same product without having spend billions of dollars and thousands of hours that is all fine by you?
Posted on Reply
#15
Smartcom5
Caring1
Patents are what keeps a company unique and drives their income, allow anyone to take and use those ideas and the net worth decreases.
Especially if you consider there are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of smaller companies all over the world who are entering cross-patent license-agreements and licensing stuff from other businesses just fine. It's just that it seems the big ones always steal and use other companies' technology while they just don't care about the one inventing it, likely thinking …

?What they gonna do? Sue us? So be it—will be dragged in court for years with a shipload of declaratory actions and alibi counter-suits just long enough 'till they run out of money.
Fine, morons! Bring it on please, one competitor less to worry about.?
Posted on Reply
#16
DeathtoGnomes
Mussels
there comes a point where vague patents and incredibly precise engineering requirements clash.

When it comes to the billions of transistors in a CPU and the complexity of designing them, OF COURSE you're gunna overlap someones weird ass patent on a barely related topic without knowing it sooner or later

It's gotta be proved they knew of the patent before designing it, before billions of dollars should be splashed around (like an ex-employee stole the tech, that sort of thing)
This right here is how it should be, it would very difficult to prove this without documents.

Patent cases also use dates of filing instead of date of awarding. This kind of thing is more or less how lesser cases are decided, a shame really, it seems thats how the verdict went against Intel here.
Posted on Reply
#17
SiJiL
DeathtoGnomes
This right here is how it should be, it would very difficult to prove this without documents.

Patent cases also use dates of filing instead of date of awarding. This kind of thing is more or less how lesser cases are decided, a shame really, it seems thats how the verdict went against Intel here.
According to other articles on this news, the jury ruled that Intel didn't know that they were infringing on the patents, but that doesn't matter - they still have to pay up.
Smartcom5
Dude, VLSI Technologies is not a patent-troll. If you even need to get explained who VLSI actually is, chances are you have no clue what you're talking about.
Intel's lawyer apparently said "VLSI, founded four years ago, has no products and its only potential revenue is this lawsuit" - sounds like he didn't do much research!
Posted on Reply
#18
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Uskompuf
these patents were then transferred to the newly resurrected VLSI Technology in 2019 with the sole purpose of launching a legal battle against Intel.
If anything should make you angry, it should be this.
Posted on Reply
#20
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
ZoneDymo
Well im more confused about it being phrased like that in the article, where did this information come from? Intel?
Well, considering VLSI's portfolio of real products these days is practically zilch (unlike in the late 80s and early 90s), it's an easy conclusion to come to.
Posted on Reply
#21
ZoneDymo
Mussels
there comes a point where vague patents and incredibly precise engineering requirements clash.

When it comes to the billions of transistors in a CPU and the complexity of designing them, OF COURSE you're gunna overlap someones weird ass patent on a barely related topic without knowing it sooner or later

It's gotta be proved they knew of the patent before designing it, before billions of dollars should be splashed around (like an ex-employee stole the tech, that sort of thing)
"Federal law doesn’t require someone to know of a patent to be found to have infringed it, and Intel purposely didn’t look to see if it was using someone else’s inventions, he said. He accused the Santa Clara, California-based company of “willful blindness.”"
Aquinus
Well, considering VLSI's portfolio of real products these days is practically zilch (unlike in the late 80s and early 90s), it's an easy conclusion to come to.
its still really personal remark (attack) to put into something that is supposedly just news.... andj ust because you cant find any "real products" doesnt mean nothing is being made or sold so conclusions like that should be made rather lightly I would say.
Posted on Reply
#22
Smartcom5
DeathtoGnomes
This right here is how it should be, it would very difficult to prove this without documents.
[…]
Uhm, as said, federal law doesn’t require someone to know of a patent to be found to have infringed it.
Ignorantia juris non excusatIgnorance is no excuse in law!

If you aren't sure that someone else already had the idea, you have to make yourself sure to not used already patented technology, thus costly recherche the living pencil of patent-registers. If it's not known by the time you use it and the way you do it still was patented already beforehand, you have to license the thing in question or at least approach the inventive inventive talent and patentee for closing some agreement on your usage for a small fee or completely free of charge (more often than not companies close agreements on exclusive usage for a ludicrous small fee [for the simplicity their invention makes your own product possible in the first place] or even free of charge anyway).

If you don't do so (and Intel has not done that at all), you likely end up having to face law-suits over said patented technology. It's literally simple as that.

As the the original article (Bloomberg) says, ?Intel purposely didn’t look to see if it was using someone else’s inventions? as VLSI lawyers said. ?He accused the Santa Clara, California-based company of “willful blindness.”?. Instead, Intel tried following the logic that since Intel's engineers used the patented technology already (despite they allegedly didn't knew about it being patented beforehand), the patents must be invalid as a result of it. As if the mere use of other companies' patented technology by Intel itself actually invalidates every claim of validly patented technology already.

They ain't even debating having violated the patent, they just didn't bother looking if it was already patented or not and still used it. Patents in question are as old as 10 years.

?The jury said there was no willful infringement [on Intel's side]. A finding [of already wilful patent-infringement] otherwise would have enabled District Court Judge Alan Albright to increase the award even further, to up to three times the amount set by the jury.? […] ?The damage request isn’t so high when the billions of chips sold by Intel are taken into account, Chu said.?

So ten years of Intel's sales in hundreds of millions (likely even billions) of CPUs sold since 2010, I'd say it's a pretty low figure already. Like a couple of cents per CPU sold?
Posted on Reply
#23
Luminescent
They will live, bribe and lobby some government officials and the fine will go down or disappear, the big problem for them is there is not much IP to steal in the US that would help them advance, they need to steal from other countries like Japan or Taiwan, some Samsung or TSMC IP would be great.
Heard TSMC might build factory in US, this could be great for Intel.
Posted on Reply
#24
billEST
Mussels
patent trolls exist just to slow down technology progress, i swear
patent is to block the others

apple have not enought money to buy the propritary who is dead ?
Posted on Reply
#25
windwhirl
It hardly matters right now, Intel is still fighting that billion euros fine for anticompetitive practices against AMD in the EU from, what, a decade ago?

This case is just getting started lol
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