Intel has now lost multiple patent lawsuits against VLSI, with more trials pending against the chipmaker in the coming years.
Lawsuits are taking their toll on Intel, as the tech giant has been ordered to pay nearly $950m in a patent infringement case.
VLSI Technology, a patent holding company affiliated with SoftBank’s Fortress Investment Group, was awarded $948.8m this week in a patent claim against Intel.
A federal jury in Texas agreed with VLSI’s claim that Intel’s Cascade Lake and Skylake microprocessors violated the company’s patent covering data processing improvements, Reuters reports.
An Intel spokesperson told Reuters that the company plans to appeal the verdict, adding that the case is “one example of many that shows the US patent system is in urgent need of reform”.
Lawsuits and appeals
Intel has faced multiple patent lawsuits from VLSI in recent years with mixed results. In March 2021, Intel was ordered to pay $2.18bn to VLSI over different chip patents. This case also took place in Texas and is currently being appealed by Intel.
VLSI lost a patent trial against Intel the following month, in which the patent holding company was seeking payment of up to $3.1bn.
During the latest trial, a VLSI attorney said that Intel’s chips cause “millions and millions of infringements per second”, Reuters reports.
Intel has previously accused the Fortress Investment Group of hoarding patents in order to hit companies with lawsuits. The chipmaker filed an antitrust lawsuit against Fortress in 2019.
In this lawsuit, Intel said Fortress and the companies it controls have filed patent lawsuits against nearly every Intel processor made since 2011. The 2019 suit also claimed that Fortress had acquired control of more than 1,000 US technology patents.
Apple was also involved in this case against Fortress and associated companies, but withdrew its antitrust action in 2021.
Intel was unsuccessful in this antitrust lawsuit in 2021 and also failed to revive the case this year. Earlier this month, a US appeals court said there was no evidence that the investment group’s conduct had anticompetitive effects, Reuters reports.
More trials to come
While Intel plans to appeal multiple verdicts that found in favour of VLSI, there is also a wave of pending trials set to take place in the coming years.
In the US, there are VLSI patent cases pending against Intel in California and Delaware. Reuters reports that the California trial is set to begin in 2024.
VLSI’s patent claims against Intel extend beyond the US. Bloomberg reports that cases are also planned in Shanghai and Shenzhen in China.
Meanwhile, there are recent reports by Bloomberg that Intel plans to cut thousands of jobs worldwide amid a drop in PC sales. The chipmaker employs roughly 4,900 people in Ireland.
10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.