Samsung hit with $400M fine over FinFET patent

June 18, 2018 // 11:56 a.m.

Tags: #finfet #law #lawsuit #legal #patent #semiconductor #tri-gate-transistor

Companies: #kaist-ip #korea-advanced-institute-of-science-and-technology #samsung

Chip giant Samsung has been found guilty of infringing a patent on FinFET technology, owned by a South Korean university, and hit with a $400 million fine - one it has, naturally, pledged to appeal.

Finbased field-effect transistor (FinFET) technology, common in one form or another to most high-performance semiconductors on the market today, extends the field-effect transistors found on chips into the third dimension as a means of reducing power draw and/or boosting performance. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, though, claims to have a patent applicable to FinFET implementations, and has been licensing it out under its KAIST IP subsidiary - a subsidiary which, a lawsuit claims, Samsung refused to pay before implementing FinFET in its own products.

The details of the case are complex: Samsung claims to have worked with the University to develop the technology in the first place and denies both the validity of and its infringement of the patent; the University, meanwhile, alleges that Samsung was dismissive of the FinFET research until rival Intel licensed it for its own products, where it was used as the basis for what is now known under the trade name Tri-Gate Transistor.

A jury, however, has sided with the University. According to a report by Bloomberg, Samsung was found guilty of wilful infringement of the University's patent and hit with a $400 million fine - less than the University requested, but with the potential to be tripled by the judge upon sentencing.

Samsung, naturally, has rejected the jury's decision. 'We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that is reasonable,' a representative told Bloomberg, 'including an appeal'.


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