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University of Wisconsin Sues Intel & Core 2 Duo Over Patent

Bad Boy Intel Just Can?t Stay Out of Trouble

Like Peck's, Bad Boy Intel just can't stay out of trouble.

Now it's being sued by the University of Wisconsin at Madison for patent infringement.

The school's patent management organization, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the world's first university-based technology transfer office, established in 1925, filed suit the other day in Wisconsin's district court saying the Core 2 Duo and the so-called Core micro architecture tread on one of its patents. Naturally it wants damages.

Seems the Wisconsin widgetry, memorialized in US patent number 5,781,752 ('752) entitled "Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer" and granted on July 14,1998, is a "major milestone" in computer microprocessing and widely cited as such - or at least that's what the school says.

And one of its four inventors, Dr. Gurindar Soho, who currently holds the chair of UW-Madison's computer science department, disclosed said pioneering breakthrough to Intel while the patent application was pending, reportedly telling Intel in the process "that patent protection was being sought on the work, and offered to discuss licensing the technology to Intel should it wish to incorporate this new technology in its future products."

Well, you know the story.

Despite repeated attempts to engage Intel on the subject of licenses, the school says, including a face-to-face meeting, Intel refused to license it and secretly used the patented technology in its products.

The suit describes the expensive-sounding patent as claiming, "a data speculative circuit to facilitate the advanced execution of instructions before other instructions on which they may be data-dependent, thus significantly enhancing the opportunities for instruction-level parallelism and thereby improving execution efficiency and speed."

In fewer words, it enhances instruction-level parallelism in modern processors and so increases their execution speed, a highly desirable trait.

And as usual WARF wants sales of the offending chips enjoined, treble damages paid for willful infringement, damages that would be used to advance continued research at the school, a reasonable royalty and legal fees.

Oh, yes, and it wants a jury trial.

WARF's general counsel Michael Falk says, "We are disappointed with Intel's lack of response in resolving this matter, and while we were not anxious to use the courts to enforce our patent rights, we have no other resource given our duty to protect the intellectual property of our inventors and the university."

Intel says it was surprised by the suit and that it's been talking to the school for over a year. It will either respond in 30 days or ask the court for an extension.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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