Intel, Via Settle Legal Disputes

Key to the settlement of lawsuits regarding chip sets and microprocessors is a 10-year cross-patent license agreement that will cover each other's products.

Intel Corp. and Via Technologies Inc., which have been trading patent infringement lawsuits for the past few years, have settled their legal differences regarding chip sets and microprocessors.

Key to the settlement, which the two companies announced late Monday, is a 10-year cross-patent license agreement that will cover each others products. Also, Intel will allow Taiwan-based Via to make and sell x86-compatible chips and chip sets and for four years Via will be allowed to manufacture chip sets that are compatible with Intels microprocessor bus.

In return, Via will pay royalties to Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif.

The two companies also agreed to drop all pending lawsuits, which have been filed around the world.

Intel and Via, of Taipei, Taiwan, have been battling since the late 1990s, when the two sides sued each other over a Pentium III chip set Via manufactured. Intel claimed that Via was not licensed to create the chip set, while Via said Intel was using the courts to stamp out competition.

Though that case was settled in 2000, a year later Intel filed suit against Via in several countries, including the United States and England, saying that the companys Apollo P4X266 chip set violated Intel patents.

In August 2001, Intel reportedly warned computer makers to stay away from the new chip set or run the risk of becoming embroiled in the legal battles. Vias chip set was the first to support Intels Pentium 4 chip, but Intel claimed that Via was not licensed to sell technology compatible with Pentium 4.

In response, Via said Intel was guilty of anti-competitive conduct and also claimed that Intel technology infringed on patents Via acquired when it bought Centaur, a subsidiary of IDT.

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