January 11, 2007 – Intel Corp. has filed a countersuit against Transmeta Corp. in a US District Court in Delaware, denying claims that Intel’s Pentium processors infringe 11 patents regarding computer architecture and power-efficiency technologies — and contending that Transmeta is actually infringing some of Intel’s own patents.
In the mid-90s, Transmeta started making low-power chips for mobile devices based on the x86 architecture. In early 2005, Transmeta shifted its business focus from designing and manufacturing chips to licensing the IP behind them.
Last October, Transmeta requested 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 sought monetary damages including royalties. Several media reports noted 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. A previous report by the San Jose Mercury News noted that John O’Hara Horsley, EVP and general counsel at Transmeta, indicated that Intel’s SpeedStep technology, which throttles back a computer’s performance to conserve power, appears to violate that patent.
Now, Intel says it denies any patent infringement on its part, and has countersued Transmeta for six of its own patents covering chip features, plus another one concerning an “apparatus for controlling power usage,” noted the SJMN. Intel is also seeking triple damages because it says Transmeta willfully infringed the patents, noted TheStreet.com.