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Transmeta accuses Intel of patent infringement

Crusoe tech vs Pentium III tech

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One-time low-power x86-compatible processor provider Transmeta has initiated legal proceedings against Intel, alleging the chip giant used its power-efficiency technology without permission. The lawsuit claims infringement of ten Transmeta patents.

Transmeta's lawsuit was filed with the US District Court of Delaware and names Intel's Pentium III, Pentium 4, Pentium M, Core and Core 2 processor families as allegedly infringing products. The company wants the chip giant to cough up damages, royalties, lawyer's fees and even more damages, and the court to impose a ban on the sale of the offending items in the meantime.

Transmeta is due to report its Q3 FY2006 earnings shortly. In August it reported Q2 revenues of $9.3m and a $7.9m loss. Pending an update with the Q3 figures, Transmeta expects to post a $16-26m loss for the full year. A cynic might say the timing of the Intel suit was no coincidence.

We're not cynics, and we expect the case to be settled before it comes to court, which is the usual outcome of this kind of argument. Transmeta's technology was developed for its Crusoe processor, launched in January 2000. The Pentium III shipped in 1999. Both would have been in development some years previously, and Intel will surely argue the technology Transmeta claims to own was being working on independently in its labs. Transmeta will reasonably reply it still got the patent first. ®

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