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Intel, TechSearch, IMS case takes further twist

It's Alice in Wonderland time...

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Updated "It is a long tail, certainly, said Alice, looking down with wonder at the Mouse's tail; "but why do you call it sad?" And she kept on puzzling about it while the Mouse was speaking, so that her idea of the tail was something like this:- (from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) A further twist in the already tangled patent case over the International Meta Systems (IMS) development of the Meta 3240 processor emerged at the end of last week. TechSearch, a firm of lawyers specialising in buying up patents, originally filed a patent infringement suit against Intel in July of last year. A few weeks later, Intel set up a shell firm called Maelen in an attempt to get its hands on the technology. TechSearch took further action against Intel last month, as reported here.(Story: Intel bang to rights on questionable business ethics) Intel's contention is that the original patent is invalid, after it was discussed in some detail in the The Microprocessor Report in an article around 18 months earlier. Intel's argument is that the patent is invalid because "a person of ordinary skill" could have derived such a patent from the MPR article. But now ILDF Inc, a benevolent association acting, it says, in support of the fair and just treatment of the creditors and shareholders of IMS, says that the Federal Bankruptcy Court has sold its members out. It was ILDF which first discovered Maelen was a shell company. TechSearch had filed a half a billion dollar patent infringement suit against Intel. It is now waiting to see how the Californian court now considering its case defines the parameters of the case, before deciding whether to leave the court or file it elsewhere. ILDF now says that the Federal Bankruptcy Court's trustee, Randolph Osherow, has filed a settlement agreement to approve the sale of patent No. 5,574,927 to TechSearch for "a consideration that will redirect all future royalties and rights of the Patent and revenue to a creditor of the IMS Estate and abandon future rights to the Patent for any other creditors and shareholders." The creditor of IMS in question is IPIQ, and ILDF, in the shape of director Ms Valery Scott, is claiming that the agreement is to the prejudice of all other creditors. She said: "The shareholders and creditors of IMS have been appalled at this attitude for good reason. Mr. Osherow’s office never asked the Court to order the Patent or the money back to the Estate. The Judge has the authority to do so. These are basic transactions and do not require lengthy, costly litigation. The determination of the Patent transfer during the preference period and monies due has been established by the Trustee. His unwillingness to act on it is remarkable. To negotiate a deal that redirects all future rights and revenue from the Patent of IMS to one creditor and compensates the Trustee is clearly unfair to all other creditors and shareholders of IMS." The IMS web site which tells the whole tangled tale can be found here. There are further depths to this case which we are currently investigating which take it out of the realm of a local dispute and involve other, well-known IT companies. We will keep you posted. ®

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