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Intel Fails to Reverse $2.18 Billion Patent Infringement Verdict

Intel
(Image credit: Intel)

This week, a District Judge in Waco, Texas denied Intel's request to overturn an order that it pay $2.18 billion for infringing VLSI's patents, Reuters reports. Back in March, Intel was ordered to pay VLSI nearly $2.2 billion in damages for the intellectual property originally developed by Freescale Semiconductor and SigmaTel. Intel denies that it had used the IP illegally and had asked for a new trial.  

Earlier this year, a District Judge in Waco, Texas, awarded VLSI with a $1.5 billion payment for one patent and $675 million for another. The IP in question is the '759 patent' describing frequency management (originally developed by SigmaTel) and the '373 patent' relating to a method to lower the memory's minimum operating voltage (originally filed by Freescale).  

If Intel does not have more options to appeal the decision, it will have to pay the damages to VLSI, a company it considers a patent troll.  

Intel and VLSI have a large ongoing legal battle in different states over eight alleged violations of VLSI's intellectual property. According to Intel's filings with SEC, VLSI seeks a total of $7.1 billion in damages, future royalties, attorney's fees, costs, and interest. Intel claims that its total payments could be as high as $11 billion if it loses legal battles in all states.  

Back in April, Intel won a patent trial with VLSI and avoided payment of over $3 billion for other patents that were used to target Intel's SpeedShift technology introduced in 2014, but which is heavily based on the SpeedStep technology that originally emerged in the early 2000s.

  • ConfusedCounsel
    This demonstrates patents do have real value. If any one is curious about the US patent system, and how it operates, as a patent attorney, I would be happy to explain the process, the rights secured, and what type of things can be patented. Yes, software can be patented. Please note, I will not provide opinions or legal advice, but just answer general questions to provide a better understanding of the US patent system.
    Reply
  • Historical Fidelity
    Hi confused counsel,

    In generic terms, exactly how different do 2 separate patented micro-architecture features that tackle the same problem need to be for it not to be patent infringement?

    thanks!

    ConfusedCounsel said:
    This demonstrates patents do have real value. If any one is curious about the US patent system, and how it operates, as a patent attorney, I would be happy to explain the process, the rights secured, and what type of things can be patented. Yes, software can be patented. Please note, I will not provide opinions or legal advice, but just answer general questions to provide a better understanding of the US patent system.
    Reply
  • Soaptrail
    At least it was patent infringement. Had Intel download movies or music illegally the penalties would have been higher and included a jail term. But when it is business no need to jail anyone.
    Reply
  • Axell
    Soaptrail said:
    At least it was patent infringement. Had Intel download movies or music illegally the penalties would have been higher and included a jail term. But when it is business no need to jail anyone.

    Intel, as a company, can't "download movies or music illegally".
    And as such, they can't send the company to jail(that's not even logical). They can, and should, send the invidivuals from the company who did the illegal activities to jail.
    I fail to understand how a company would be able to download movies or music illegally in fact.
    Reply
  • husker
    Historical Fidelity said:
    Hi confused counsel,

    In generic terms, exactly how different do 2 separate patented micro-architecture features that tackle the same problem need to be for it not to be patent infringement?

    thanks!

    I can answer that: It depends on how detailed the patent is. If I have a patent that says I own the rights to using electrons travelling through any medium when sorting lists on a computer everyone is in deep trouble. If my patent that says I own the rights to using electrons on a copper wire when sorting lists, you can breath easy.
    Reply
  • Historical Fidelity
    husker said:
    I can answer that: It depends on how detailed the patent is. If I have a patent that says I own the rights to using electrons travelling through any medium when sorting lists on a computer everyone is in deep trouble. If my patent that says I own the rights to using electrons on a copper wire when sorting lists, you can breath easy.
    Haha I appreciate the post but I’m familiar with how patents work, I was looking for more detail specific to transistor arrangements, data flow, etc. I hate euphemisms but there’s only so many ways to skin a cat and I’m fascinated thinking about how many different integer and floating point core designs there are yet they all end up providing the same results.
    Reply
  • ConfusedCounsel
    Historical Fidelity said:
    Hi confused counsel,

    In generic terms, exactly how different do 2 separate patented micro-architecture features that tackle the same problem need to be for it not to be patent infringement?

    thanks!

    Sorry for the late reply - I have been planning a funeral.

    To answer your question, in terms of patent infringement the question is does a product have all the elements recited in the claims of the patent.

    Each patent ends with Claims. They generally read something like:

    "A micro-architecture comprising:
    A;
    B; and
    C.
    If a micro-architecture has A, B, and C, it infringes. Likewise, if a micro-architecture has A, B, C and D, it also infringes. The presence of additional element D does not detract from the critical inquiry of does it contain all the elements recited in the claims (i.e. A, B. and C). However, a micro-architecture comprising A, B and D would not infringe, because it lacks C and thus does not have all the elements of the claimed invention.

    Apply this rule to the Intel-VLSI battle, VLSI also asserted patent claiming a method of limiting power to a chip, reducing the cache size. Intel chips do something similar. Despite the similar result, Intel does not practice all the elements of the claimed method. Intel, instead, achieves the result using different methods. (I wish I could be more specific, but a confidentiality order to protect Intel's IP has caused the court to redact a lot of the opinion.) Using a different method that does not entail practicing all the elements of the claimed method, Intel was found not to infringe VLSI's method patent. Accordingly, it is not the result that matters, or even similar capabilities and features, but whether the accused device has all the elements as claimed or performs all the elements of the method as claimed.

    I hope this answer your question.

    Again, apologies for the late reply.
    Reply
  • ConfusedCounsel
    husker said:
    I can answer that: It depends on how detailed the patent is. If I have a patent that says I own the rights to using electrons travelling through any medium when sorting lists on a computer everyone is in deep trouble. If my patent that says I own the rights to using electrons on a copper wire when sorting lists, you can breath easy.

    Actually, a claim that broad would be invalid for lack of enablement. See O'REILLY ET AL. v. MORSE ET AL., 56 US 62 - Supreme Court 1853 - Google Scholar This is fundament case always studied in patent law course. It basically holds that for a patent to be valid, it must teach a person skilled in the art how to make and use the full scope of the claimed invention. So, for your hypothetical claim to be valid, the patent would have to teach how to make electrons flow through any and all mediums.
    Reply
  • Soaptrail
    Axell said:
    Intel, as a company, can't "download movies or music illegally".
    And as such, they can't send the company to jail(that's not even logical). They can, and should, send the invidivuals from the company who did the illegal activities to jail.
    I fail to understand how a company would be able to download movies or music illegally in fact.

    Your argument does not make sense. A company can download movies and music, they can also spend money on political campaigns now that the Supreme Court ruled they are a person (or person like), and until SOx law enacted in 2002 no company executives could go to jail even when a company was breaking the law.
    Reply
  • ConfusedCounsel
    Soaptrail said:
    Your argument does not make sense. A company can download movies and music, they can also spend money on political campaigns now that the Supreme Court ruled they are a person (or person like), and until SOx law enacted in 2002 no company executives could go to jail even when a company was breaking the law.

    Yes. Executives can be held criminally liable. For instance, violating the Food Drug and CosmetiC Act can lead to jail time. So, do not miss brand your FDA regulated products.
    Reply