Yes, it means that. If this is in an essential part of the kernel, every use of Linux distribution with such a kernel would constitute an infringing operation.
In the commercial world, providers of hardware-software systems tended to hold their customers harmless from such suits and would defend them.
Google was sued as an user of Linux. (There's a kind of karma here with regard to Google not providing protection to hardware providers that embed Android, but that is an entirely-separate matter, seems to me.)