Intel loses bid to revive antitrust case against patent foe Fortress

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  • Intel sued Fortress for allegedly aggregating patents to shake down tech companies
  • Fortress-affiliated entity won nearly $2.2 billion from Intel in patent case

(Reuters) – Intel Corp failed to show that Fortress Investment Group LLC violated federal antitrust law by allegedly stockpiling patents and threatening tech companies with them, a U.S. appeals court said Tuesday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a California federal court’s decision to dismiss Intel’s lawsuit, finding no evidence that SoftBank Group Corp-backed Fortress’ conduct had anticompetitive effects.

Representatives for the companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Intel was hit with a $2.2 billion verdict last year in a Texas patent dispute with Fortress-affiliated VLSI Technology LLC. Intel fended off VLSI’s bid for more than $3 billion more in a second infringement trial last year. A third Texas trial began Monday.

Intel and Apple Inc sued Fortress in 2019 for allegedly violating antitrust law by aggregating thousands of patents and using them to monopolize patent markets for specific technologies with licensing demands and litigation threats. Apple withdrew from the case last year, and U.S. District Judge Edward Chen dismissed the lawsuit months later.

Intel told the appeals court that the lower court had held it to an overly strict standard by “refusing to draw the obvious conclusions from Intel’s detailed allegations and demanding an unreasonably high degree of specificity” in its complaint.

But a three-judge 9th Circuit panel upheld the district court’s decision in a jointly written opinion.

“Intel does not allege any instance in which it has in fact paid higher royalties due to alleged patent aggregation,” the appeals court said. The chipmaker also did not argue “that an allegedly aggregated patent portfolio prevented it from making any product or practicing any technology, or that it has been denied any license.”

The court was also unconvinced by Intel’s argument that Fortress’ “exorbitant” litigation demands were evidence of an anti-competitive price increase in the patent market.

The case is Intel Corp v. Fortress Investment Group LLC, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-16817.

For Intel: Seth Waxman of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

For Fortress: Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella

Read more:

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

Intel files antitrust case against SoftBank-backed firm over patent practices

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

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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