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Dell patent ‘infringement’ comes to trial

Tulip in Delaware

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Dutch PC manufacturer Tulip will face Dell in court on Monday (June 23, 2003) as its $17 billion intellectual property infringement case finally comes to trial in the US District Court of Delaware.

In a complaint issued in November 2000, Tulip alleges that Dell violated its patent (number 5,594,621, 'Motherboard for a computer of the AT type, and a computer of the AT type comprising such motherboard') that describes a way to connect PCI and ISA cards to an AT motherboard.

The patent centres on "placing the riser card comprising connectors for both ISA and PCI expansion cards in a connector arranged on the side of the motherboard of a computer of the AT type rather than in a connector arranged centrally of the motherboard".

According to Tulip, Dell has infringed its patents in its Optiplex PC range since January 1997, when the patent was granted (it was filed in 1995), and that attempts to persuade the PC giant to negotiate a settlement had failed. It said that sales of Optiplex PCs that allegedly infringed upon its patents amounted to $17 billion.

Dell denies infringement, and what's more claims that Tulip's patent is invalid and unenforceable.

The case will be heard by US Federal Judge Kent A Jordan and is expected to last nine days. Neither Tulip nor Dell were willing to comment. ®

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