October 12, 2006 – Transmeta Corp. has filed a lawsuit against Intel Corp. in US District Court in Delaware, alleging that several of Intel’s Pentium chip lines, and its new Core lines, utilize Transmeta’s technologies covering computer architecture and power efficiency.
In its complaint, Transmeta requests an injunction against Intel’s continuing sales of Pentium III, Pentium 4, Pentium M, and Core and Core 2 Duo processors, which incorporate patented Transmeta technologies, and is seeking monetary damages including royalties. Several media reports (e.g., San Jose Mercury News and CNet) note that those Intel products have generated more than $100 billion in revenue to date.
One of the patents at issue reportedly covers “adaptive power control,” which changes the speed of a microprocessor on the fly to adapt to usage and power needs, and for which Transmeta received a patent in August 2000. The SJMN report noted Horsley indicating that Intel’s SpeedStep technology, which throttles back a computer’s performance to conserve power, appears to violate that patent.
In a statement, John O’Hara Horsley, EVP and general counsel at Transmeta, pointed out that Intel “has acknowledged that Transmeta has been an innovative spur to some of Intel’s own development efforts, roadmap decisions and new product successes,” and has utilized Transmeta technologies in its major microprocessor product lines. “After endeavoring to negotiate with Intel for fair compensation for the continued use of our intellectual property, we have concluded that we must turn to the judicial system to be fairly compensated for our inventions,” he said.
In early 2005, Transmeta shifted its business focus from designing and manufacturing chips to licensing the IP behind them. “We understood that in some cases we might need to pursue enforcement through the courts,” stated Arthur Swift, Transmeta president and CEO. “We believe that the action we have taken today is an appropriate step to return value to our stockholders from our investments over the past decade.”