07 Feb UW-Madison suit alleges patent infringement by Intel Corp.
Madison, Wis. – The licensing arm of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has filed a patent infringement suit against Intel Corp., one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies, claiming that Intel’s widely used Core 2 Duo processor includes patented technology invented by UW-Madison researchers.
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which noted the technology significantly improves the efficiency and speed of computer processing, filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
WARF said in a statement released Feb. 6 that it filed the suit to ensure that the interests of the UW-Madison and its inventors are protected, and that WARF receives compensation for Intel’s unlicensed use of the invention.
Four researchers at UW-Madison, including professor Guri Sohi, developed the technology, which was patented in 1998. Sohi now serves as chair the university’s Computer Science Department.
“The technology of the UW-Madison researchers has been widely recognized in the field of computer architecture as a pioneering invention,” said Michael Falk, general counsel for WARF, in a statement released by the research foundation.
Falk said WARF contacted Intel in 2001 and made repeated attempts, including meeting face-to-face with company representatives, to offer legal licensing opportunities for the technology.
In the suit, WARF claims that while its application for a patent on the technology was pending, one of its inventors met with Intel and offered to discuss licensing it for use in future Intel products. Instead, the company incorporated the patented technology into its products, including the Core 2 Duo processor, and has refused to obtain a license from WARF. The research foundation also claims that Intel has aggressively marketed the benefits of this invention as a feature of its Core 2 technology.
Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., reported revenue of $38.2 billion and net income of $7 billion in 2007. Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for Intel, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the company has been in discussions with WARF for more than a year and is in the process of evaluating the complaint.
Falk said the research foundation is disappointed with Intel’s lack of response in resolving the matter, and said that while it is not eager to sue, it now has no other recourse but to pursue litigation to protect the intellectual property of university inventors.
Given the reputation of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the lawsuit could also force a quick settlement. The court is known for handling technology and biotechnology disputes more rapidly than other courts, so much so that attorneys say it has a “rocket docket.” The court includes Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, U.S. District Judge John Shabaz, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker.
In addition to asking the court to declare that Intel is infringing on its patent, WARF is asking the court to enjoin Intel from selling the product and to order Intel to pay damages to WARF and cover its legal fees.
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