Intel ordered to pay $2.18 billion in patent lawsuit

Intel "strongly disagrees" with the verdict and will appeal.

Nathan Frandino / reuters

Intel has been ordered to pay $2.18 billion dollars after losing a lawsuit over two decade-old patents, Bloomberg has reported. A jury ruled that Intel infringed patents related to clock frequencies and voltage owned by a company called VLSI LLC. "Intel strongly disagrees with today's jury verdict," the company told Bloomberg in a statement. "We intend to appeal and are confident that we will prevail."

"We are very pleased that the jury recognized the value of the innovations as reflected in the patents and are extremely happy with the jury verdict," said VLSI chief executive Michael Stolarski in a statement. The patents, dating back to 2010 and 2012, have changed hands a number of times over the years. They were originally awarded to FreeScale Semiconductor and SigmaTel, but FreeScale later bought SigmaTel and was eventually swallowed itself up by NXP Semiconductors in 2015.

VLSI was a legitimate semiconductor company founded in 1979 and was one of the original investing partners in ARM Ltd. It was purchased by Philips in 1999 for $1 billion, and parts of it survive today inside the Philips spin-off NXP. Separately, VLSI LLC started up again four years ago and regained control of the two patents. However, Intel lawyer William Lee argued that the company has no products and its only potential source off revenue is the lawsuit. "VLSI] took two patents off the shelf that hadn’t been used for 10 years and said, ‘We’d like $2 billion,”’ Lee told the jury.

The case was fought in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas under Judge Alan Albright. Albright is "a former patent litigator and magistrate who was sworn in as a federal judge in 2018 and has quickly turned his courtroom into one of the most popular for patent owners to file suit," Bloomberg noted.