Mips Technologies has filed a lawsuit against Lexra, which manufactures processor cores for embedded applications, claiming that it has infringed two US patents covering fundamental aspects of its Risc chip architecture.
The move follows the settlement of a lawsuit earlier this year that alleged Lexra was wrongfully describing its products as "Mips compatible". The case, which involved trademark and false advertising claims, was resolved when Lexra agreed not to refer to its products as Mips compatible any longer.
In the new suit, however, the first patent under question deals with a method for facilitating the handling of unaligned memory references, while the second covers a method for providing extended precision in the performance of arithmetic operations. Mips has also identified nine additional patents that it alleges Lexra may be infringing.
John Bourgoin, Mips' president and chief executive, said: "Mips Technologies is a world leader in the design and marketing of reduced instruction set computing (Risc) microprocessor technology. Although Mips and Lexra have discussed a potential license, no agreement has been reached and Mips had little choice but to file this suit to protect its valuable patent rights."
He added that the technology, which is reflected in scores of US patents, cannot simply be appropriated by companies that are unwilling to enter into a license agreement. "We will not allow 'free riders' to undermine the relationships and goodwill that exist between Mips Technologies and its licensees," he attested.
Massachusetts based Lexra could not be reached for comment, but has 20 days to respond to the allegations in court documents.
Bourgoin said, however, that it expects Lexra to make the usual claims that the patents in suit are invalid and/or not infringed and to file a number of counterclaims.
He added: "We strongly believe that Lexra will not be able to show the patents in suit to be invalid or to avoid a finding of infringement."
Mips plans to try and recover all past damages and a permanent injunction barring any further infringement.
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