Samsung faces exposure as high as $1.2 billion after jury finds it infringed on mobile chip technology
Last month, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $538.6 million for infringing on some of Apple's patents related to the design of the iPhone. Now, Samsung has been punished again for having been caught with its hands in the cookie jar; and by cookie jar, we mean the intellectual property belonging to another firm without obtaining a license. In fact, it was the U.S. licensing arm of a South Korean University that brought the suit, which resulted in a federal jury ruling that Samsung did infringe on a U.S. patent covering FinFET technology.
The amount that Samsung owes KAIST IP US (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) is $400 million. Because the jury ruled that Samsung willfully infringed on the patent, the judge has the option to impose "treble damages" which would triple the dollar amount of the award to $1.2 billion. In addition to Samsung, Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries Inc. were both also found to have infringed on the same patent. However, the pair did manage to escape without being ordered to pay damages.
FinFET is a transistor that is used in the design of processors that use gate electrodes shaped like a fin (hence the name). The technology allows multiple gates to open on a single transistor, allowing for improved performance and less energy consumption on smaller chips.
According to the complaint, Samsung dismissed the use of FinFET at first, considering it to be a fad (hmm, a FinFET fad). But the filing says that Sammy changed its mind when Intel licensed FinFET for its chips. Samsung has denied the infringement, stating that it worked with the University to develop FinFET. The tech giant added that it believes that the patent is invalid and will consider an appeal.