VIA tries to stop P4 sales

All about swapping integers and floating-point numbers, apparently

VIA has coughed up more details about the patent infringement action it's taking against Intel in retaliation for the chip giant's own allegations that VIA has violated Intel intellectual property.

It wants the chip giant to not only to cease the sale of the P4, but pay hefty damages to both VIA and its subsidiary Centaur. VIA isn't saying how much money it wants the court to award it.

VIA's countersuit, filed with the Federal District Court in Austin, Texas, claims the Intel's Pentium 4 processor illegally uses technology protected by VIA's patent number 6,253,311, which covers an "Instruction set for bi-directional conversion and transfer of integer and floating point data".

The patent is actually owned by VIA subsidiary Centaur, which it bought in 1999 in order to acquire its IDT WinChip x86-compatible processor. Centaur's IDT division is now VIA's main processor development operation.

The patent was filed back in 1996, but was finally granted on 26 June this year. Essentially, it covers the ability to swap integer and floating-point data between on-chip registers designed to hold those number formats, translating and reformatting the data as they're moved. The patent also covers processor instructions used to control this process.

The P4 does all of the above, VIA claims. ®

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Related Link

Details of patent 6,253,311