Northern District of California Denial of Motion to Compel Sounds Ominous Note for Intel’s License Defense

March 18, 2023

The wide-ranging dispute between VLSI Technology LLC and Intel over patents originally developed at NXP Semiconductors has been playing out in three district courts—the Western District of Texas, the District of Delaware, and the Northern District of California—as well as before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Nearly a year ago, District Judge Alan D. Albright made public an earlier denial of Intel’s motion to amend its answer in the first case, to assert a license defense based on the 2020 purchase of Finjan, Inc. by Fortress Investment Group LLC, to which VLSI is tied. At the time, it seemed unlikely that Judge Albright’s would be the definitive district court word on the subject of that license defense, but a ruling last week from Northern District of California Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins, that possibility has become somewhat more likely.

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