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posted by janrinok on Friday November 18 2022, @02:28PM   Printer-friendly

Cascade Lake and Skylake prove even more expensive than expected:

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."

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19 2022, @12:33PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19 2022, @12:33PM (#1280485)

    > In the case of the patent courts it lets companies throw money at each other until they feel satisfied with their idiocy.

    There is another approach (loophole), used successfully by "duopolies". Two leading companies in some specific market carry on a patent fight, often extending for decades and many competing/infringing patents. This has a chilling effect on any other possible competitive companies that might enter that market--for the potential newcomers can see that they will be in a patent fight from the start.

    One (long ago) that I chanced to hear about was two windshield wiper manufacturers--Trico and Anderson/Anco--their patent suits could have gone on for 40+ years? I believe that the company owners and lawyers were in cahoots (to some extent), once they realized that it made sense to stay in court as long as possible. It was a cheap way to keep any third company from getting into the wiper business.

  • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Saturday November 19 2022, @02:16PM

    by RamiK (1813) on Saturday November 19 2022, @02:16PM (#1280494)

    This has a chilling effect on any other possible competitive companies that might enter that market

    Automotive cartels of this nature happen with or without patents and courts: []

    That's the whole point: You can't keep wealth from creating more wealth disproportionately to what lesser wealth can since most industries scale. So, best you can do is tax the highest earners and move the money back down. That's what the current inefficiencies of the patents system do: They force industries to waste money on slow and inefficient pointless court cases where the only real winners are the lawyers and the tax payer. It's a shitty system that is fueled by the corruption of the lawyers and in an enlightened world we would have lined the lot of them against the wall and have a sane tax code instead... But society is dumb and greedy and need their pound of flesh so that's what we get.

    If you want to address the system's injustices, focus on the small case courts issue. Everything else is out of our hands anyhow.