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Intel sues patent ‘parasite’

Chipzilla seeks $4.5m in damages, alleges AMD was hit too

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Intel yesterday brought its significant legal weaponry to bear on little known technology company EMI Group North America. Its beef: that EMI's failed attempt to sue Intel for patent infringement was malicious -- and the company needs a good slapping. Chipzilla's suit against EMI, which demands $4.5 million in damages, essentially claims EMI is little more than company formed to wheedle money out of technology firms -- to "coerce Silicon Valley companies to makre payments simply to avoid the risk, uncertainty, burden and expense of litigation". Intel claims EMI -- which, so far as we can ascertain, has no connection with the major international music and communications company of the same name -- doesn't "manufacture, develop or produce any product or service". The original EMI vs Intel case was fought in 1995. EMI sued Intel claiming it infringed two of its patents -- patents Intel claims the company simply bought in -- for fabbing metal oxide semiconductor transistors. The case eventually went to the US Supreme Court, where it was thrown out earlier this year Despite the victory, the case cost Intel million of dollars, and now it wants them back. And just in case it seems like an example of money-grabbing, Chipzilla was at pains to point out that it's not the only company to have been targetted by EMI. The suit also alleges EMI has been attempting to force other companies, including AMD, Hyundai, Cypress Semiconductor and Winbond Electronics, into coughing up licensing fees to avoid legal challenges from EMI. Intel has a point, but there's a certain degree of 'what's sauce for the goose' about all this. Long-time Intel watchers will recall the company's highly aggressive legal department, which in the past was provided with target numbers of companies to sue. Had EMI successfully sued Intel back in 1995, there would have been a certain poetic justice in Intel's loss. ®

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