Intel, Broadcom suspend hostilities

Ask for patent suit to be dismissed without prejudice

'Enough already!' That's the cry that appears to have come up from both camps in the long-running legal battle between Intel and Broadcom.

The two companies last week filed to dismiss the suit brought against Intel by Broadcom without prejudice, Reuters has reported.

Broadcom filed to sue Intel in November 2001, claiming the chip giant had violated its intellectual property rights. It claimed Intel had used its graphics technology in Intel chipsets without its authorisation.

That suit was a response to legal action taken by Intel in August 2000. Then, Intel claimed Arima Communications had infringed a number of its patents. When Broadcom bought Arima in September 2000, the purchaser became the target of Intel's spleen.

In fact, it was a target in any case - Intel sued Broadcom in March 2000, alleging the company had obtained its trade secrets "by stealth". Late in September of that year, Broadcom claimed the chip giant has used its chip secrets to speed up development of Intel's own products

Two of the claims in the Arima case, covering networking and digital video patents, were spun off into a separate case that came to court late November 2001 and was dismissed by the judge the following month.

Since then, the case has continued to bubble away. But clearly the point has been reached when the ongoing cost is likely to outweigh any benefit, particularly since much of the action was perceived by outside observers to be tactical in nature.

Neither side has yet commented on the cessation of hostilities. ®