Intergraph Slaps Patent Suit on TI

Fresh off a legal
victory
and a $300 million settlement
in a patent dispute with Intel Corp., chip designer Intergraph is suing
Texas Instruments over alleged patent breaches.

The Huntsville, Ala.-based Intergraph is alleging
Texas Instruments infringed three patents, which define
portions of parallel instruction computing (PIC). It said research showed
PIC to be a crucial component in Dallas-based Texas Instruments’ TMS320C6000
family of digital signal processors (DSP).

Intergraph claims it developed and patented the PIC technology in the
early 1990s for use in its C5 Clipper microprocessor while TI’s TMS320C6000
family of products was introduced much later — in 1997.

Officials at Texas Instruments could not be reached for comment at press
time.

Intergraph, which has already received a $150 million payment from Intel as settlement in a separate case, said the patents being infringed by TI
were U.S. Patent No. 5,560,028 for “Software Scheduled Superscalar Computer
Architecture,” U.S. Patent No. 5,794,003 for “Instruction Cache Associative
Crossbar Switch System,” and U.S. Patent No. 6,360,313 B1 for “Instruction
Cache Associative Crossbar Switch.”

It said TI’s family of DSPs are generally used as high-performance
embedded controllers in consumer products. Applications include audio and
video encoders and decoders, broadband solutions, optical networking,
telephony, voice processing and wireless communications.

The company, which also sued Dell Computer ,
Hewlett-Packard and Gateway last December
over its Clipper memory management patents, said the patents that TI is
allegedly infringing “have already been found to be valid and enforceable by
the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and were also
licensed by Fujitsu in September 2002.”

“It is necessary that we take this step to protect our intellectual
property. Our legacy in advanced microprocessor design has left Intergraph
and its shareholders with valuable patents,” Intergraph CEO Jim Taylor said
in a statement.

The Clipper patents being contested with Dell, HP and Gateway was at the
core of the Intel settlement of a 1997 lawsuit. The Santa Clara,
Calif.-based Intel agreed to a $300 million settlement and inked a cross
license agreement that allows it to take ownership of certain unrelated
patents from Intergraph.

That settlement is different from another legal squabble between
Intergraph and Intel over the PIC technology. A judge ruled in favor of
Intergraph but Intel plans to appeal the verdict.

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