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Apple sued for iPhone, iPad chip 'patent rip-off'

Efficient loading of data? That's ours, says VIA

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Apple has been sued by the Taiwanese fabless semiconductor-design firm VIA Technologies for – what else? – patent infringement.

The patents involved, Via's complaint charges, are for technology used in microprocessors in Apple's iOS products that "generally provides efficient loading of data in the microprocessors and efficient conversion and transfers of data in the microprocessors".

Specifically, the three patents are 6,253,312, "Method and apparatus for double operand load", and 6,754,810, a continuation and refinement of the earlier 6,253,311, both of which being entitled "Instruction set for bi-directional conversion and transfer of integer and floating point data".

The suit is joined by co-plaintiffs CenTaur Technology of Austin, Texas, and IP-First LLC of Fremont, California, both subsidiaries of VIA Technologies. The suit was filed in the Delaware US District Court.

The "Accused Apple Products" named in the suit are the iPad and iPad 2, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4 CDMA, fourth-generation iPod touch, and second-generation Apple TV. The complaint requests that Apple be enjoined from importing any of these into the US – or, for that matter, from manufacturing them in the US, as if that were ever going to happen.

The suit alleges that Apple's infringment be deemed "willful" – which, if so, would triple any damages that the court might award to VIA and its subsidiaries, should the court find in their favor.

The Reg predicts a settlement, with a nice chunk of cash floating across the Pacific from Cupertino to the Xindian District of New Taipei City, Taiwan. ®

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