University Sues Intel for Patent Infringement, Demands to Ban Intel Core 2 Chip Sales.
Intel Accused of Patent Violation
by Anton Shilov
[ 02/11/2008 | 09:19 PM ]
A university from the USA has accused Intel Corp. of infringing its patents with its processors based on Intel Core 2 micro-architecture and demanded the court to either force the world’s largest maker of x86 chips to pay compensation, or stop selling central processing units powered by the latest micro-architecture.
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is charging Intel Corporation with patent infringement of a University of Wisconsin-Madison invention that “significantly improves the efficiency and speed of computer processing”. WARF filed this complaint to ensure that the interests of the UW-Madison and its inventors are protected and that WARF receives the compensation to which it is entitled for Intel's unlicensed use of the invention. This compensation will be used to advance continued research at the university.
The foundation's complaint identifies the Intel Core 2 micro-architecture as infringing WARF’s U.S. patent No. 5,781,752, entitled “Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer”. The technology, patented in 1998, was developed by four researchers at the UW-Madison, including Professor Gurindar Sohi, currently the chair of the university’s computer science department.
“The technology significantly enhances opportunities for instruction level parallelism in modern processors, thereby increasing their execution speed,” said Michael Falk, WARF general counsel.
The patented technology by the University of Wisconsin-Madison describes advanced prefetch mechanisms that are available in today’s microprocessors:
“A predictor circuit permits advanced execution of instructions depending for their data on previous instructions by predicting such dependencies based on previous mis-speculations detected at the final stages of processing. Synchronization of dependent instructions is provided by a table creating entries for each instance of potential dependency. Table entries are created and deleted dynamically to limit total memory requirements.”
“The technology of the UW-Madison researchers has been widely recognized in the field of computer architecture as a pioneering invention,” added Mr. Falk.
The organization claims that WARF contacted Intel in 2001, and made repeated attempts, including meeting face-to-face with company representatives, to offer legal licensing opportunities for the technology.
WARF is asking the court to declare that Intel is infringing on its patent. The court also will be asked to enjoin Intel from selling the product, and to order Intel to pay damages to WARF and cover WARF’s legal fees.
Intel itself believes that it has not violated patents of the university and claims that it would “vigorously defend” itself in the forthcoming legal battle. Intel unveiled microprocessors featuring Intel Core 2 micro-architecture back in mid-2006 and presently it powers nearly all chips Intel sells.
Back in 2007 the microprocessor supplier settled patent infringement lawsuit with Transmeta by agreeing to pay an initial $150 million payment to the former developer of central processing units as well as to pay Transmeta an annual license fee of $20 million for each of the next five years. The small chip designer accused Intel of infringing its patents in the field of trimming microprocessor’s power consumption.