Micron hit with $445 million US verdict in Netlist patent trial


Visitors look at a memory wafer at a Micron Technology kiosk before the start of 'SemiconIndia 2023', India's annual semiconductor conference, in Gandhinagar, India, July 25, 2023. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File photo

(Reuters) - Chipmaker Micron Technology owes computer-memory company Netlist $445 million in damages for violating Netlist's patent rights in memory-module technology for high-performance computing, a U.S. jury said on Thursday.

Jurors in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas agreed with Netlist that Micron's semiconductor-memory products infringe two Netlist patents related to technology for improving the capacity and performance of memory modules.

The jury also concluded that Micron infringed the patents willfully, which could lead to a judge multiplying the damages by up to three times.

Representatives for Micron did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the verdict.

"We are grateful for the jury's service, and their recognition of the importance of Netlist's innovation," Netlist attorney Jason Sheasby said in a statement.

Netlist won a $303 million verdict against Samsung in the same court last year in a related dispute over high-performance computer memory patents.

Boise, Idaho-based Micron's stock price has surged this year based on demand for its chips used to power artificial-intelligence technology. Irvine, California-based Netlist sued Micron in 2022, alleging that three of its semiconductor memory-module lines infringed its patents.

Micron denied the allegations and raised several defenses, including arguments that the patents were invalid.

A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office tribunal invalidated one of the patents in April, which could eventually reduce the size of the verdict.

(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington; Editing by David Bario and Lincoln Feast)

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