Digital has made a full-frontal attack on chip giant Intel and sued it on 10 counts, charging it with infringing chip patents it holds. The patents in question which Digital said Intel has infringed include technology in the Pentium, the Pentium Pro, and the Pentium II (Klamath).
Robert Palmer, CEO of Digital, said today: ?We?re seeking damages and an injunction against Intel using our technology. The sums we will seek will be developed in the course of the litigation.?
He claimed that Intel had used techniques based on Digital Alpha technology and that as far back as 1990 and 1991, his company had discussions on the technology.
?The technologies are fundamental and to do with Risc design, branch prediction, cache and pipelined designs,? Palmer said. ?The benefits Intel enjoyed are quite substantial. The matter of profits Intel has made will be developed during litigation but the numbers involved are quite huge, it?s clear. We?re seeking damages and an injunction against our technology.?
Digital?s timing of the announcement was significant. It filed the suit in Worcester, Massachusetts this afternoon, meaning that Intel personnel in Santa Clara were still asleep when the announcement was made. Palmer said he had not wanted to disturb Andy Grove?s sleep.
That also meant Intel representatives across the world were wrong-footed and unable to comment until senior executives got into work.
Palmer claimed that Digital had been investigating the extent to which Intel had used its patents for the last four years but the matter only came clearly to light when his company realised the performance boost from the Pentium to the 32-bit Pentium Pro.
?I said to Andy Grove that Risc was better than Cisc and I talked to him about licensing Alpha technology, ? he said.
?The focus of our initial examination was the Pentium Pro then we looked at the Pentium and the Pentium II again,? said Palmer.
The Alpha chip is a 64-bit Risc part, while the Pentium Pro is a 32-bit chip. Hewlett-Packard and Intel are cooperating on Merced, a 64-bit part, now likely to be delayed until the year 2000, as previously reported.
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