NVIDIA countersues Intel over licensing agreement

NVIDIA, which was sued by Intel last month over a four-year-old chipset licensing agreement, filed a countersuit today, accusing the chip giant of trying to eliminate a competitor as it tries to play catch-up in graphics technology.The issue revolves around whether the agreement extends into new technologies, such as Intel’s Nehalem microprocessors.

NVIDIA, which was sued by Intel last month over a four-year-old chipset licensing agreement, filed a countersuit today, accusing the chip giant of trying to eliminate a competitor as it tries to play catch-up in graphics technology.

The issue revolves around whether the agreement extends into new technologies, such as Intel’s Nehalem microprocessors. Intel says it does not while NVIDIA maintains that the agreements contain no language limiting the licensing to specific products or expiration dates.

After a year of negotiations, Intel filed a sealed suit last month. NVIDIA's suit (PDF) is not sealed but contains sections that have been redacted. Excerpts from the suit explain NVIDIA's reasoning for filing a countersuit:

Intel has manufactured this licensing dispute as part of a calculated strategy to eliminate NVIDIA as a competitive threat. For years, Intel has dominated the lucrative field of central processing units ("CPUs"), with Intel's graphic offerings being an afterthought. NVIDIA, in contrast, correctly predicted that graphics processing would become increasingly important to computer technology and pioneered sophisticated graphics products, including innovative new graphics processing units ("GPUs"). In fact, in recent years, a growing, multi-billion dollar marketplace for computer graphics technology processing has emerged with NVIDIA at its center. Thus, after years of dominating the computer processing space, Intel found itself needing to play catch-up to NVIDIA's pioneering graphics processing technology.

NVIDIA previously said the dispute does not affect its chipsets for Intel’s current CPU bus interface and Intel previously said it hopes the dispute will not impact the company’s other working relationships.

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