Broadcom, Intel agree to end fight, share toys

Intel pockets $60m too

Broadcom and Intel have confirmed that hostilities have ended and the war is over.

Last week, the two companies asked the Texas Court that the patent infringement lawsuit brought by Intel against Broadcom be dismissed.

Today, the duo revealed they have "settled all outstanding litigation between the companies as well as all litigation involving their affiliates".

They also said they have "entered into reciprocal releases covering all patent claims and certain other claims". Such cross-licensing deals are the usual outcome of such 'You stole my intellectual property! No, you stole mine!' spats. This particular deal, described by the parties as "comprehensive", lasts until each individual patent expires. It is also royalty-free.

What does the cross-licensing agreement include, precisely? Neither company would say, hiding behind the opaque: "All existing products of each party are licensed by the other. Certain proprietary products of each party are not licensed to the other, but neither company believes that the license exceptions are material to its business as currently conducted or planned."

Which basically says, each company has licensed all the other's products - except the ones it hasn't.

Presumably Broadcom won't be offering Pentium 4 processors of its own, since it's not planning to enter that market. Unless, of course, it is...

Contrary to earlier reports, the actions will not be dismissed without prejudice: one upshot of the settlement is that Broadcom will pay Intel $60 million in cash in two $30 million installments to be accounted for in Intel's Q3 and Q4 results. Broadcom will take the full $60 million hit on its quarter ended 30 June 30, results of which it has yet to file with the SEC.

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. ®

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