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Intel Santa Clarifies Via legal pursuit

Puts ball in Taiwanese and other firms' court

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A senior representative at Intel US has now spelled out the most recent actions it has taken against companies alleged to infringe its patents. Chuck Molloy, a representative at Intel US, said that the firm had taken action against FIC, KMS in the UK; against Aquest, Jet Systems, Jetway and Via in Singapore; and against FIC America, FIC International and Everex in the US. Molloy said that the alleged FIC and Everex infringements related to what he described as "system level" patents, and were nothing to do with chipsets. He insisted that Intel had gone through due processes in its contract with Via, first notifying them in January of this year that the company was infringing the terms of the contract they signed in November last year. He said: "In April, we put them on notice under the terms of the contract that they had 60 days to comply." Two weeks before the 60 day notice period expired, on the 18 of June, Intel terminated the contract and on the 23rd of June filed suit against Via for breaching terms of the November 1998 cross licence. He claimed that Intel attempted to reach a settlement during the 60 period but Via, for its own reasons, declined to talk to the company. He said: "I would decline to comment on whether the FIC and Everex actions are tied to the Via action". Nor, he said, would he speculate on whether Intel would extend similar lawsuits to other parties using Via chipsets. He claimed that Intel had a duty to both its shareholders and its other licensees to take action against those it thought breached its licences and patents. It is feasible that other companies, such as Compaq and IBM, have separate cross licences which cover their particular cases, but Molloy refused to comment on other agreements Intel has with such major OEMs. For the Taiwanese firms' take on this whole situation, see our story here. ®

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