VLSI Technology, a patent holding company affiliated with Softbank's Fortress Investment Group, has been awarded $948.8 million in a patent infringement claim against Intel Corporation.
On Tuesday, a federal jury in the Western District of Texas, a popular venue for patent claims, found that Intel's Cascade Lake and Skylake processors violated a VLSI data processing patent.
Intel in a statement emailed to The Register said it intends to appeal the decision.
"This case is just one example of many that shows the US patent system is in urgent need of reform," a company spokesperson said. "VLSI is a 'patent troll' created by Fortress, a hedge fund that is bankrolled by large investment groups for the sole purpose of filing lawsuits to extract billions from American innovators like Intel."
"This is the third time that Intel has been forced to defend itself against meritless patent infringement claims made by VLSI. Intel strongly disagrees with the jury's verdict and the excessive damages awarded. We intend to appeal and are confident in the strength of our case."
An attorney representing VLSI did not immediately respond to request for comment.
[...] A 2014 academic paper, "The Direct Costs from NPE Disputes," [PDF] found that in 2011, "the estimated direct, accrued costs of NPE [non-practicing entities] patent assertions totaled $29 billion."
Large technology companies – many of which have amassed large patent portfolios, which they often justify as defensive weapons – have complained for years about patent trolls/patent assertion entities [PAE] /NPEs, which are companies that exist to file infringement claims.
Legal changes, like the US Supreme Court's Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International decision, which made software patents more difficult to obtain, have reduced patent trials – more claims are being dismissed. But Intel in its antitrust argument against Fortress has suggested that patent assertion entities are adapting to the new legal landscape.
"In the face of these challenges, PAEs have evolved," the company said. "PAEs have increasingly been partnering with investment firms to fuel their litigation."