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Intel takes VIA P4 Patent War to UK, HK, Germany

Pour encourager les autres

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Intel has slapped suits against VIA and sundry allies in Germany, the UK and Hong Kong.

It accuses VIA of infringing eight Intel patents with the P4X266 chipset and VIA's new C3 processor. By adding the C3 processor to the patent charge sheet, and by taking the battle to so many countries, Intel is clearly in little mood for small talk.

In Germany, Intel has filed VIA and its subsidiary VIA Technologies GmbH. In the UK it has filed two writs against VIA, dragging in Taiwanese mobo maker Elitegroup Computer Systems for one case, and Realtime Distribution, a £50m t/o wholesaler of PC components to the UK system builder market, in the other. In Hong Kong, Intel is waving its legal cudgels at Via and Trend Electronics (HK).

If you're interested in the actual patent numbers and laws that VIA and co. are alleged to have defiled, tune into the Intel press release here.

Intel and VIA have been at loggerheads over P4 licensing since last year. VIA claims that it has the right to produce chipsets for the P4 - and it does not need Intel's permission to do sell this technology.

VIA launched the DDR-DRAM-enabled P4X266 chipset in August. On September 7, Intel filed patent suit against the Taiwanese upstart in the Delaware courts. A couple of days later, VIA turned the tables on Intel, by trying to halt P4 sales. The company alleged in a suit filed in Taiwan and the US that the Pentium 4 incorporated technology it owned (through the acquisition of S3 inc.). As such, Intel had no right to sell P4s full stop.

All in all, very entertaining. Except for the poor schmucks who actually buy the chipsets. According to Taiwanese reports, the leading motherboard makers are urging a quick settlement. ®

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