Transmeta has filed a lawsuit against Intel for the alleged infringement of 10 US patents covering computer architecture and power efficiency technologies.
If Transmeta is succesful in its claim, Intel could be forced to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
Loss-making Transmeta set itself up as an intellectual property licensing company last year, after its power efficiency chips failed to carve out a sizeable niche in the chip market after five years.
The Transmeta lawsuit charges that Intel has infringed and is infringing Transmeta's patents by making and selling a variety of microprocessor products, including the Pentium III, Pentium 4, Pentium M, Core and Core 2 product lines.
The complaint requests an injunction against Intel's continuing sales of infringing products as well as monetary damages, including “reasonable royalties” on infringing products, treble damages and legal fees.
John O'Hara Horsley, executive vice-president and general counsel at Transmeta, said, "Intel has acknowledged that Transmeta has been an innovative spur to some of Intel's own development efforts, roadmap decisions and new product successes.”
He said, “At the same time, Intel has practiced multiple Transmeta inventions in its major microprocessor product lines. After endeavouring to negotiate with Intel for fair compensation for the continued use of our intellectual property, we have concluded that we must turn to the judicial system to be fairly compensated for our inventions."
Intel has not responded to the lawsuit so far. Intel has focused more over the past three to four years on the power efficiency of its chips, to help deliver longer battery life to user’s laptops and cut power use generally.