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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: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday November 21 2022, @11:22AM (3 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday November 21 2022, @11:22AM (#1280787)

    My first job out of college I worked (for 12 years) for a "closely held" small public company, meaning: the CEO held 51% of the shares. For 10 of those years I worked closely with the CEO, and he was a good guy - compared with others in his position he was a great guy. Employees were paid more or less market rate with slightly better than market benefits as compared with much larger companies in the industry. He was in his 60s and basically mellow, but still reaching for that next level brass ring.

    When times were good he would pay himself $300k per year. When times were hard, he would forgo salary and make 12% APR loans to the company and issue new shares, always issuing himself enough to keep control but also taking money from the market. With 51% control these actions could never be questioned, but occasionally he would hire consultants to tell him what was "reasonable in the current environment.". Of course they would tell him things he wanted to hear. Things like: issue of restricted shares to CEO and employees: employees get the opportunity to purchase shares restricted from market sale for one year at 50% of market rate, CEO gets opportunity to purchase many more shares only restricted for six months, or maybe three, at 25% of market rate, and the worst part IMO: is not required to disclose these terms except in the annual report which comes out long after the employees decision to participate deadline. The justification is rich too: the better terms are because the size of the investment is higher IIRC CEO was investing 100k, employees were restricted to a maximum $25k in aggregate of all employees, limited due to the lesser financial means of the employees and the risky nature of the investment. In other words: because the employees are lower class they have not only restricted opportunity to benefit from the situation but also higher risk terms.

    He was one of the good ones, most of the investors we courted over the years weren't even shy about the nature of the pump and dump schemes they proposed wherein their investment in our company put most of the risk on the company existing shareholders and most of the gain of a successful outcome in their pockets. I forget the particulars of those deals we turned down, but IIRC "most" often ran around 90% both risk to shareholders and 90% gain to these outside investors. Virtually all of those proposals included total divestiture of the outside investors within a year or two - they weren't interested in the company at all beyond its access to the stock market.

    Musk is playing at such a high level that there are no precedents to compare, lawsuits are just part of the landscape there because of the opportunity to make precedent. I would not be surprised by an Elon bid for the presidency as early as 2028, but at this point I sincerely doubt his ability to successfully manage Twitter as a major platform that long and his ability to transform his various customer based (tree hugger solar and EV, starry eyed Martian hopefuls, outspoken businessman worshipers...) into a voting bloc. Even if he signed Andrew Yang as VP I would have a hard time voting for an out of touch pothead trust fund baby. Maybe if he was running against Trump.... At least he wouldn't be over 70 going into office.

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  • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Monday November 21 2022, @05:55PM (2 children)

    by RamiK (1813) on Monday November 21 2022, @05:55PM (#1280842)

    I would not be surprised by an Elon bid for the presidency as early as 2028

    He'll have to get the natural-born citizen clause repealed first since he was born in South Africa.

    lawsuits are just part of the landscape...

    When Musk tweeted he secured funds he didn't for the first time, he made a mistake. When he violate the terms with the SEC on the 3rd or 4th time he made such a tweet with the excuse that "extracted from Musk through the exercise of economic duress" ( [] ), he was being a criminal. When he awarded himself a $50 billion golden parachute without consulting the boardroom or appointing board members who have the shareholder's concerns at heart despite being explicitly required to do by his SEC settlement, he was being a recidivist. And now, when he's moving employees and cash from Tesla into Twitter despite it not benefiting Tesla shareholder in any way while the above case is still discussed in court... Yeah. That's not being a good CEO, a bad investor or even a repeat offender... That's him betting on getting the next president into office by control media Murdoch-style so they'll pardon him for everything.

    So if you seriously didn't see Trump being invited back by Musk into twitter coming, you haven't been paying attention at all.

    Regardless, the only mild surprise is that Trump had the business acumen to turn down the invitation so he'll be able to negotiate the terms. Of course, the Trump brand is associated with a competitor so that alone is enough for him to refuse if only initially... Still, if he does join Twitter back and it ends up getting him a better deal, that would be to Trump's credit.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday November 21 2022, @06:35PM (1 child)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday November 21 2022, @06:35PM (#1280857)

      >He'll have to get the natural-born citizen clause repealed first since he was born in South Africa.

      Stranger things have happened, but he probably knows better than to try to run himself anyway - far better to send in a puppet.

      >That's him betting on getting the next president into office by control media Murdoch-style so they'll pardon him for everything.

      Interesting plot twist, wasn't paying close enough attention to call that one, but it makes sense. What I have seen, consistently, in the ranks of the very wealthy is an unusual appetite for risk. They don't usually get there by playing it safe, and most of them seem to have a pathological need to play long odds.

      >that would be to Trump's credit

      It's possible that in his post-COVID haze he has started following advice more than he used to, certainly there's a crust of people around him (not that he hired/fired) that have placed themselves there in a symbiotic sort of relationship - his public persona revolves around being an ego-centric sycophant seeker, and I'm sure that's who he really is deep down too, but after his time in the presidency and post-presidential preparations for his trials, he may have actually learned to listen to these people once in a while, or simply lost the will to fight it anymore.

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      • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Monday November 21 2022, @09:26PM

        by RamiK (1813) on Monday November 21 2022, @09:26PM (#1280896)

        very wealthy is an unusual appetite for risk

        Depends on the generation: The first gen got there by a lot of dice rolls and outlier luck so they tend to bet big as a force of habit. However, the following generations tend to build off economies of scale so so long as they have basic common sense they can keep accumulating their fortune. Either way, no risk is too big when you're too-big-to-fail.

        It's possible that in his post-COVID haze he has started following advice more than he used to...

        I'm guessing it's just that solicitations for his money and brand are common as spam mail is to the rest of us so he shot it down by default at the speed of a left swipe on an ad. Either way, there's still something to be said about knowing who to take advice from or maybe the experience it takes to build that "too good to be true so lets refuse first, ask questions later" response so it's still to his credit.