Intel aims to fend off another big VLSI win in third chip-patent trial

  • VLSI Technology previously won nearly $2.2 billion in trial last year
  • Intel fended off $3 billion VLSI case in second showdown

(Reuters) – Intel Corp is fighting to avoid a second multi-billion-dollar trial loss to VLSI Technology LLC, telling an Austin, Texas federal jury on Monday that its computer chips do not infringe VLSI’s patent rights.

The jurors heard opening statements in the companies’ third West Texas trial over claims that Mountain View, California-based Intel’s chips infringe VLSI patents.

A jury in Waco awarded VLSI nearly $2.2 billion from Intel in a related case last March. Intel defeated VLSI’s bid for more than $3 billion more in a second Waco trial last April.

VLSI is owned by investment funds managed by Fortress Investment Group LLC, a SoftBank Group Corp subsidiary. Intel lost a separate case alleging Fortress broke U.S. antitrust law by stockpiling patents and using them to extort tech companies. Intel has appealed in that case.

In the current trial, VLSI accuses Intel’s Cascade Lake and Skylake microprocessors of mimicking its patented technology for improved data processing. The patent originally belonged to Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV and was first issued in 2009.

VLSI attorney Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella told the jury in his opening statement that Intel “used to be dominant” in the field and aped its technology to keep up with rising competitors.

Chu said Intel has derived “enormous value” from using VLSI’s invention. He said Intel has sold more than 47 million infringing chips and that VLSI is entitled to a share of royalties.

Intel attorney Bill Lee of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr countered that the chipmaker’s engineers developed its innovations independently, and that Intel’s products would not work with the outdated technology described in VLSI’s patent. Lee also told the jury that the patent is invalid.

The trial had been postponed in April following positive COVID-19 tests from multiple participants.

Two other VLSI patent cases against Intel are still pending in Northern California and Delaware. A trial in the California case is set to begin in 2024, and the Delaware case is currently on hold.

U.S. District Judge Colm Connolly paused the Delaware case in August based on concerns that VLSI failed to disclose sufficient information about its financial backers.

The case is VLSI Technology LLC v. Intel Corp, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, No. 1:19-cv-00977.

For VLSI: Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella

For Intel: William Lee of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

Read more:

Intel loses U.S. patent trial, ordered to pay $2.18 billion to VLSI Tech

Intel defeats VLSI Technology in $3.1 bln patent trial

COVID-19 cases derail billion-dollar Intel patent trial for now

Intel asks U.S. court to revive antitrust case against SoftBank-backed Fortress

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at

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Erasmo Schroeder