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Intel extends Via legal action

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Chip giant Intel has complained to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) that competitor Via is taking patent liberties with technology it owns on the P6 front side bus. That follows a series of legal actions Intel took in the second half of last year, alleging that Via and some of its subsidiaries infringe its patents. The ITC received a complaint from Intel on January 7th, in which it was asked to investigate whether Via's use of the technology was a breach of a 1930 US tariff law. The body will begin investigating whether Intel has a case in the next few weeks, reports said. Intel is, quite openly, paranoid about Via, which last year acquired x.86 manufacturers IDT-Centaur and Cyrix. At a press conference held at its last Developer Forum last September, senior executive VP Pat Gelsinger said that it did view Via as a threat, and in some ways considered it to be a bigger threat than its traditional rival AMD. The first legal actions began against Via before it acquired microprocessor technology from Cyrix and IDT. Via claims that a cross licensing agreement it made with National Semiconductor, which formerly owned Cyrix, allows it to use elements of front side bus technology. However, there does appear to be something more of an agenda to this dispute than first appears. Via was instrumental in promoting the PC-133 synchronous memory standard, a technology that Intel rejected in favour of Rambus. However, in the end, Intel has been forced to accept market realities. At the beginning of this week, Intel formed a new memory consortium group excluding Rambus, and fell into the arms of JEDEC, an industry body which it had studiously ignored previously. The legal actions Intel is engaged in are a response to Via's increasing market share, and lawyers are likely to be rubbing their hands in glee at the piles of dosh they will make from the dispute. However, Intel's move to invoke the ITC is not without its little irony. If the US government body agrees with Intel, it would effectively ban Via chipsets from entering the US. Perhaps Via had better start manufacturing them in the country, and fast. ® Intel kicks out Rambus from Seven Dramurai Intel vs Via: Trumpets sound in battle of Jericho Intel Santa Clarifies Via legal action Intel sues FIC, Everex as Via legal action mounts

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