Judge rejects Intel request for new Intergraph trial

Intel's request for a new trial in its dispute with Intergraph over Intel's Itanium processors has been denied by a judge, a...

Intel's request for a new trial in its dispute with Intergraph over Intel's Itanium processors has been denied by a judge, a decision that will cost Intel $150m (£96m) under a previous agreement, and could result in further payments.

Intel had requested that Judge Ward reconsider his 10 October finding in the case that Intel infringed upon "valid and enforceable" patents held by Intergraph for parallel instruction computing (PIC), entitling Intergraph to an injunction against Intel banning the manufacturing, sale or distribution of 64-bit Itanium or Itanium 2 processors for servers.

Intel and Intergraph are currently negotiating the terms of the injunction and judgment that will be entered by Judge Ward this week, said Jeannie Robison, director of corporate public relations for Intergraph. After the judge enters that final ruling Intel will appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, said Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman.

The two companies had previously agreed to a range for damages in the current PIC lawsuit, which was filed in July 2001. If Intel lost the PIC case, it said it would pay Intergraph $150m (£96m) in liquidated damages, Mulloy said. The $150m is due 30 days from the date of the final ruling from Judge Ward, Robison said.

Intel has three options in order to stay the injunction: appeal against the decision, pay $100m to licence the relevant patents, or redesign the Itanium processor. If Intel wins on appeal, it is not responsible for any further payments, but if it loses, it must pay the $100m to secure the patents, Mulloy said.

Intergraph and Intel's legal battles date back to 1997, when Intergraph sued the chip maker after it claimed Intel demanded access to patented Intergraph technology in Intel's Pentium processors without having to pay royalties. Intergraph alleged that when it refused, Intel cut off access to high-end processors used by Intergraph in a line of workstations.

The two companies ended that litigation in April, when Intel agreed to pay Intergraph $300m (£193m) as part of a settlement and to purchase unrelated technology patents held by Intergraph.

Intel has not ruled out a design-around for the Itanium processor with its decision to appeal, Mulloy said.

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