Intel sues Via, Broadcom

Legal department goes into OverDrive

Chip giant Intel has stepped up its action against not-so-little chipset maker Via and, in an unrelated action, launched a legal broadside against its former partner Broadcom.

Via first. Cnet reported yesterday evening that Intel has added two further allegations of patent infringement in its on-going legal action on chipsets. While Via and Intel settled many of their differences last month, this fresh action relates to an AMD related chipset.

The Broadcom action is far more interesting and there seems to be quite a deal of venom involved. In the court deposition, Intel claims that practically every aspect of Broadcom's business, from cables down to chip packaging, violates its patents.

The deposition claims Intel has made repeated attempts to "persuade Broadcom" to respect its patents but those attempts have been "fruitless".

However, the Wall Street Journal, quotes a Broadcom representative who suggests that this is unlikely and that his firm didn't even have a copy of the law suit, never mind talk to Intel.

Back in March, we reported on an earlier legal action Intel had taken against Broadcom. Unusually, Intel commented on this case, which centred around an allegation that Broadcom had poached key members of its staff, in a what it described then as "a systematic programme of targeting specific employees".

Perhaps the unusually high level of venom between Broadcom and Intel is related to the fact that at one time Chipzilla had investments in the firm. At the same time, Intel sees this sector of its business as a cash cow with potentially far higher growth and profitability than its microprocessor business. ®