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Intergraph extends patent claims to Itanium

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Intergraph is stepping up its patent war against Intel, with claims that the chip giant's Itanium chip utilises two of its proprietary technologies.

Intergraph has a couple of patents which - it claims "define key aspects of parallel instruction computing (PIC)".

This patented PIC technology is in turn "an essential component in Intel's IA-64 EPIC(explicitly parallel instruction computing) architecture", used in the Itanium chip.

Intergraph says it designed the technology in 1992 during the development of its C5 Clipper microprocessor. And it received patents for the technology in 1993.

The suit is separate from Intergraph's continuing court action to seek royalties from Intel for allegedly using PIC technology in Pentium chips.

Intergraph stands to make tens of millions of dollars in royalties and -possibly - punitive damages from Intel, if it wins these suits. There is little love lost between the two companies.

The Alabama-based firm is convinced that Intel exploited its dominant market position to muscle it out out of the hardware business. It sought and failed to get redress through anti-trust suits. The patent/royalty route looks rather more promising. ®

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