Intergraph and Intel have settled a patent infringement suit pending in the US District Court in Birmingham, AL. Under terms of the settlement, the companies have signed a cross license agreement – Intergraph will transfer ownership of certain unrelated patents to Intel and Intel will pay Intergraph $300 million.
Another patent suit in the US Federal District Court in Marshall, TX will proceed as planned, but the companies have agreed on liquidated damages depending upon the outcome of the case, including appeal. The liquidated damages range from zero if Intel prevails, and $150 million if Intergraph prevails, or up to $250 million if Intergraph prevails on appeal.
In the Alabama case, Intergraph claimed that in 1996, after several years of mutually beneficial work, Intel began making unreasonable demands for royalty-free rights to Intergraph patents already being used in Intel microprocessors. When Intergraph refused, Intel abused its monopoly power by engaging in a series of illegal coercive actions intended to force Intergraph to give Intel access to the patents.
With no other source of suitable high-end processors available and with its hardware business under serious threat because of Intel’s actions, Intergraph filled the lawsuit on November 17, 1997.
The Texas lawsuit was filed on July 30, 2001. In this case, Intergraph has charged Intel with infringement on two Intergraph patents that define key aspects of parallel instruction computing (PIC). This patented technology was developed by Intergraph in 1992 when the company’s Advanced Processor Division was designing Intergraph’s next generation C5 Clipper microprocessor.
Intergraph’s PIC technology is an essential component of Intel’s IA-64 EPIC (explicitly parallel instruction computing) architecture, which is at the heart of Intel’s new Itanium chip. The patents, which Intergraph filed for in 1993, cover techniques for conveying compiler-recognised parallelism to the hardware and a novel approach to routing instructions to any of the processing units.