Intel slaps Via with new patent lawsuit

The ding-dong courtroom battle over chip patents heats up as Intel files a countersuit claiming that Via Technologies' C3 processor infringes on five U.S. patents held by the company.

Intel has escalated its legal war with Via Technologies by filing a countersuit, alleging that Via infringes on U.S. patents for processors.

On Oct. 5, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel filed the counterclaim and an answer to a suit recently filed by Via in the U.S. District Court in Texas. In the counterclaim, Intel alleges that Taipei, Taiwan-based Via and its U.S. subsidiary Centaur Technology infringed five U.S. patents that Intel holds when Via developed the C3 processor. The suit seeks unspecified damages and a permanent injunction to prevent Via from selling the chip.

Intel actually kicked off the legal proceedings in September by filing a suit in federal court in Delaware against Via for patents relating to chipsets. The suit alleges that Via is making Pentium 4 chipsets without a license. Via responded by filing the Texas suit, claiming that the Pentium 4 infringes on technology included in the C3.

Subsequently, Intel filed more suits against Via and its various business partners in Hong Kong, England and Germany. In the suits in Hong Kong and England, Intel alleged for the first time that Via is infringing on its processor technology.

The suits in Hong Kong and England revolve around different, but related, patents as the newest claim, an Intel spokesman said Wednesday.

The new lawsuit marks the entry of the processor issue into the United States.

Although Via commands an extremely small portion of the processor market, it is Intel's lead competitor in chipsets--companion parts that shuttle data from the processor to other parts of the computer.

Via could not immediately be reached for comment.


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