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Broadcom brushes aside Intel patent suits

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Intel has lost another battle in the Serial Litigation Wars, this time against Broadcom.

A federal jury in Delaware court on Friday rejected claims that Broadcom had infringed two Intel patents related to networking and digital video. And worse, (for Intel) the court found that Intel's networking patent was invalid.

The chip giant's decision to assert an 11-year old patent for the first time against Broadcom and only against Broadcom, looks like a legal strategy gone horribly wrong. The court will "decide the issues of Intel's patent misuse and inequitable conduct," Broadcom says in a press statement.

Intel had sought $82m in damages in a suit driven, Broadcom claims, by marketing rather than technological concerns.

The chip giant argued before the court that its 11 year-old networking patent covered covered all 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networks, a very comprehensive territorial claim, and all the more surprising, considering its scope, that the company had never asserted this intellectual property right before.

We'll now let Broadcom take up the story. "The invalidated Intel patent was originally issued to Dayna Communications and involved an invention used in the implementation of the now outdated Appletalk networking protocol. That patent, which was issued in 1990 and which was acquired by Intel in 1997 as part of its acquisition of Dayna, had never previously been asserted... If Intel's claims had been upheld, the patent would have covered the products shipped by nearly every computer networking company in the world."

Intel has yet to announce whether it will appeal; but given the inexhaustible energy of its legal team (If it's Tuesday it must be VIA), the odds are that this particular case ain't over yet.

Intel and Broadcom will now face each other in another trial. This will assess three more patent infringement claims from Intel and a counter-attack from Broadcom, alleging it is the victim of unfair business practices. ®

Intel's battle with Broadcom comes to court

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