Micron gets hit with a whopping $445 million damages bill after it was found liable for patent infringements

Micron has been ordered to hand over a mega $445 million in damages for infringing on the patent rights of Netlist, a California based memory technology company that designs high-performance SSDs and memory subsystems.

Micron was found to have willfully infringed on Netlist’s patents.  According to Yahoo Finance, the judge in the case can multiply the damage amount by up to three times, potentially resulting in damages of well over $1 billion.

According to The Register, the patents in question are US Patent numbers 7,619,912 and 11,093,417. The first describes a memory module decoder, while the second relates to the data buffering of memory modules. The jurors awarded $425 million for infringement of the first, and $20 million for infringement of the second. Both patents cover “methods for improving the performance or capacity of DRAM memory modules in computer systems”.

This isn’t the first time Netlist has been the beneficiary of a favorable patent infringement ruling. In 2023, it was awarded $303 million in damages after a jury found Samsung infringed on its patents. However, litigation in that case is ongoing. In April, the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) ruled the patents in question are invalid. 

During the trial, Micron contended that the ‘912  patent held by Netlist was ruled invalid by the PTAB, and it has indicated its intention to appeal.

$445 million is a lot of money, but Micron isn’t exactly struggling. It’s not quite seeing Nvidia levels of explosive growth, but it is riding the AI wave, with its enterprise memory products generating surges in revenue. It’s latest Q2 financial report revealed quarterly revenue of $5.82 billion, up from $4.73 billion for the prior quarter and over $2 billion more than the $3.69 billion the company reported for the same period last year.

It can afford some good patent attorneys. 

Source: PC Gamer

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