Intel fights back in Transmeta patent case

Intel is on the offensive by filing a countersuit against Transmeta in an ongoing patent infringement disagreement between the two companies.

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Intel is on the offensive by filing a countersuit against Transmeta in an ongoing patent infringement disagreement between the two companies.

Transmeta first sued Intel in October 2006, saying Intel’s Pentium and Core PC processors violate 10 Transmeta patents. Intel, in a court document filed on the 9 January 2007, denied it had infringed any Transmeta patents, instead accusing Transmeta of infringing seven of its own patents.

Intel’s claims cover a variety of patents on processor functionality, including power usage and packed data. Transmeta’s patents aren’t legitimate, because Transmeta officials “withheld, concealed and/or mischaracterised’ information about other patents and technologies in their patent applications, Intel lawyers wrote in the counterclaim, filed in US District Court in Delaware.

Instead, Transmeta infringed Intel patents that came before the Transmeta patents, Intel lawyers wrote.

Transmeta won’t have a comment on the Intel countersuit until it can study it further, a Transmeta spokesman said.

Nine of the 10 Transmeta patents in the October lawsuit cover basic processor functions like scheduling and addressing instructions on the chip.

Transmeta, founded in 1995, targeted Intel’s market dominance in the notebook PC market. Transmeta developed software that reduced power consumption, allowing PCs to run longer but its processors did not gain a large market share. Intel recently has focused on lowering power consumption as well.

In its first nine years of business, Transmeta posted $650 million (£333m) in losses. In 2005, the company switched business models and now focuses on licensing its technology. In November, Samsung Electronics unveiled a converged computer and mobile phone that runs on a Transmeta processor.

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