AmberWave files patent suit against Intel

The plaintiff alleges that Intel had infringed on its strained silicon patents in the chipmaker's 90mm Pentium microprocessors.

AmberWave Systems, a supplier of strained silicon technology, has filed a suit against Intel, alleging that the chipmaker had infringed on its strained silicon patents.

Strained silicon is a performance-enhancing material for an array of semiconductor-based products. It works by increasing the mobility of charged carriers in semiconductor devices by "stretching" or "straining" the silicon lattice.

The lawsuit involves two techniques, developed by AmberWave to increase the performance of semiconductor devices. The company contends that Intel had used these proprietary techniques as part of the strained silicon technology incorporated into the 90mm Intel Pentium microprocessors.

AmberWave stated that litigation was necessary after Intel refused to negotiate a license agreement. Intel had previously filed a declaratory relief action on May 25, to seek a determination that it does not infringe on this patent.

The lawsuit is the latest blow to hit Intel, which only last month was slapped with an antitrust claim filed by rival chipmaker AMD. More recently, European Commission officials raided the offices of Intel as part of an antitrust investigation which also involved a number of companies that manufacture or sell computers.