Appeals Court overturns VIA-Intel antitrust ruling
Round 2 to VIA
The Court of Appeal has paved the way for VIA to conduct an anti-trust case against Intel in England.
Earlier this year, VIA issued a writ against Intel in England. In June, Intel applied successfully to the High Court have the case thrown out - a ruling that has now been overturned. Intel must pay costs incurred by VIA in the High Court and in mounting the appeal.
The two companies have a long-running battle over the rights of VIA to use Intel-patents in P4 chipsets and mobos. They are slugging it out courts on three continents.
In the words of Bristows, VIA's UK law firm, VIA alleges that Intel's behaviour is "anti-competitive, that the way Intel uses its huge patent portfolio seriously harms smaller rivals, and that Intel is driving rivals out of business and harming consumers".
According to Pat Treacy, head of the Competition law at group Bristows, the Appeal Court's decision will ensure a "landmark trial" in which "momentous issues" concerning the conflicts between competition law and the patent law will be explored.
Bristows has produced a useful summary of the general issues at stake.
Competition law ensures that companies are free to compete, to give consumers choice of price, specification and quality. Patent law gives the
patent holder the right to stop others using his invention. Where patents block access to the entirety of a marketplace, the two systems may come into
conflict. That a patent holder's rights can sometimes be restricted by competition law is controversial. Claims of this sort have historically been viewed with scepticism by some UK Courts. ®