The Intellectual Property division of Intergraph has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas charging Texas Instruments with patent infringement.
Specifically, the Company claims that Texas Instruments (TI) has infringed three patents which define key aspects of parallel instruction computing (PIC), namely, US Patent No. 5,560,028 for ‘Software Scheduled Superscalar Computer Architecture,’ US Patent No. 5,794,003 for ‘Instruction Cache Associative Crossbar Switch System,’ and US Patent No. 6,360,313 B1 for ‘Instruction Cache Associative Crossbar Switch.’
In its complaint, Integraph says that its patented PIC technology is an essential component in the TI family of Digital Signal Processors (DSP) marketed under the name TMS320C6000, and including the C62x, C64x, and C67x families of DSPs. It is these families which are alleged to be infringing Intergraph’s PIC patents. These devices are generally used as high-performance embedded controllers in consumer products. Their applications include audio and video encoders and decoders, broadband solutions, optical networking, telephony, voice processing and wireless communications.
The patents in question define a method for grouping and routing instructions to multiple parallel processing units. Intergraph’s patented PIC technology permits multiple processor operations to occur simultaneously, thereby significantly increasing processor performance.
According to Intergraph, a review of all publicly available documents for the TMS320C6000 product family confirms that the processors use the same parallel instruction computing technology described by the Company’s PIC patents. These same patents have already been found to be valid and enforceable by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and were also licensed by Fujitsu in September 2002.
Intergraph developed its patented PIC technology in the early 1990s when the company’s Advanced Processor Division designed Intergraph’s C5 Clipper microprocessor. TI’s TMS320C6000 family of products was introduced in 1997.
In December 2002, Intergraph sued Dell Computer Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company (including Compaq products), and Gateway for infringing its Clipper memory management patents. That lawsuit will also be heard in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.