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Intergraph files patent suit against HP, Dell, Gateway

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Having been involved with patent litigation against Intel Corp for five years, Intergraph Corp is now turning its attention to Intel's OEMs, and patent lawsuits against Dell Computer Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co and Gateway Inc.

Huntsville, Alabama-based Intergraph has filed suit against the three hardware vendors in the Eastern District of Texas, charging that they have infringed three of its patents relating to cache memory management technology that were previously used in its now obsolete Clipper RISC processors.

The US patents, numbered 4,899,275, 4,933,835 and 5,091,846, were among a number of patents involved in an infringement case brought against Intel by Intergraph in the Northern District of Alabama in 1997. That case was settled in April 2002 with a $300m payment from Intel to Intergraph and related patent sales and licenses between the two.

While Intel was given a royalty-free, non-transferable license to the Clipper patents, the provisions of the settlement maintained that this license did not extend to Intel OEMs and licensees, and Intergraph reserved the right to pursue claims against Intel's customers.

Those claims are now being pursued by the Intellectual Property division of Intergraph, which was formed in early 2002 to protect the company's intellectual capital. It is not the first time that the company has moved to protect these patents from infringement.

According to the company, it first warned a number of vendors about infringing the Clipper patents in 1997 and negotiated licenses for the patents with OEMs until 1999 when Intergraph's enforcement and licensing program was suspended while it pursued Intel. Intergraph further states that it renewed its offer to the OEMs to negotiate a license to the clipper patents in 2001.

"These are valuable patents and we have an obligation to protect our intellectual property and to seek fair value for its use," commented Intergraph's chairman and CEO Jim Taylor in a statement. "The defendants are large and resourceful, and the litigation will no doubt be difficult. However, Integraph has the resources and the resolve to see it to conclusion."

© ComputerWire

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