A federal jury in Texas ordered Samsung Electronics to pay $400 million to a South Korean university for infringing one of fundamental patents related to double gate FinFET transistors. The same jury found that GlobalFoundries and Qualcomm had infringed the same patent, but the two companies were not ordered to pay damages.

The U.S.-based licensing arm of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) sued Samsung in Marshall, Texas, accusing the world’s largest maker of chips of using its IP illegally. Samsung said that it worked with the university to develop FinFET-related technologies, but KAIST indicated that the chipmaker was “dismissive of the FinFET research” initially and believed that the tech would fail. The university says that Samsung changed its mind about FinFET after Intel licensed the invention. Meanwhile, KAIST alleges that Samsung did not pay for using the technology.

The jury reportedly sided with the South Korean university and ordered Samsung to pay $400 million for infringing the U.S. Patent 6,885,055. In fact, the jury found that Samsung’s infringement was intentional, which means that the judge could trebel the damage award to $1.2 billion. It is noteworthy that the jury also found that GlobalFoundries (which licenses Samsung’s 14LPP process technology) also infringes KAIST patent. Furthermore, Qualcomm was also found to be infringing the patent because its chips are made by Samsung Foundry and GlobalFoundries.

Samsung was naturally disappointed by the decision and said it would consider an appeal.

“We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that is reasonable, including an appeal,” Samsung reportedly said in a statement.

Sources: Bloomberg, JUSTIA.

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  • FunBunny2 - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - link

    kind of funny. Trump goes on about the USofA having tech stolen by Others, yet here we have to Korean entities as the base-source of the most fundamental tech. am I the only one to see the irony (or worse)?
  • FreckledTrout - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - link

    Applying logic to what Trump says is pointless.
  • eachus - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - link

    Not quite sure what your point is here. It was a Korean company playing fast and loose with a US patent--rights owned by a Korean university.

    Also FinFET technology is not all that fundamental, you need thousands of patent licenses to make integrated circuits today. Not all of them are owned by US companies. However the next thing after FinFETs, nanosheet transistors were mostly developed by the part of IBM now owned by GF.
  • melgross - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - link

    The way patents work is that you can take a patent from one source, add to it so that it improves it and adds additional functionality, and patent that. That’s how this worked.
  • id4andrei - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - link

    Apple is also pretty egregious. Two price fixing law suits lost, chip patents stolen from the Wisconsin University, the humiliating loss against Samsung in the British courts. Don't hate the players, hate the game.
  • melgross - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - link

    Apple wins most all of those lawsuits though.
  • boeush - Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - link

    Yeah, the original inventors are now labeled "patent trolls" for prosecuting IP thieves. What a world...
  • fteoath64 - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - link

    Yeah, considering KAIST is a large University and has plenty of funds to get into litigation. One ought to consider small companies or indivudual inventors having their IP ripped off by larger companies (and getting away with it). Totally unfair.
  • melgross - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - link

    Doesn’t matter how big the organization is. These companies, such as Samsung are some of the worlds largest too.
  • mkaibear - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    Unfortunately some people think that nothing should be patented and anyone who enforces a patent is a "patent troll"

    Neglecting the fact that patents are one of the main reasons for the way the technological works has flourished over the last 150 years.

    C'est la vie.

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