The FinFET has served as a foundational piece of technology for Intel’s processors since 2011, serving as a key ingredient in nearly every processor it sells. However, Intel has been embroiled in a patent infringement lawsuit in China since 2018 with a Chinese government-funded R&D lab that asserts the company has violated its FinFET patent. Intel has responded by challenging the validity of the patent, but it recently lost its sixth challenge with the China Patent Reexamination Board, marking yet another setback for Intel in the case as it looks to avoid a ban on the sale of its ‘Core’ family of processors in China.
The Institute of Microelectronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMECAS) filed the lawsuit against Intel in the Beijing High Court in 2018, seeking 200 million yuan (roughly $31 million USD) in damages plus the cost of litigation. More importantly, the lawsuit also seeks a ban on the sale of Intel’s ‘Core’ family of chips that it uses for its client products, at least until the two parties can come to a licensing agreement.
Intel provided the following statement to Tom’s Hardware regarding the latest developments:
“This decision is subject to appeal and Intel looks forward to the courts’ balanced consideration of Intel’s invalidity challenges to the asserted patent.”
IMECAS has also filed two other patent infringement lawsuits against Intel (more below). Intel can’t assign a dollar amount to the potential total damages, saying, “[…]we are unable to make a reasonable estimate of the potential loss or range of losses, if any, arising from these matters. We dispute IMECAS’s claims and intend to vigorously defend against them.”