Intel Corp. is seeking US$1.3 million in court costs after a Virginia court threw out a lawsuit alleging the chip giant’s Pentium technology infringed a 1996 patent.
In a 21-page memo in support of a motion filed Feb. 23 in
the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Intel accuses All Computers Inc.of Toronto of filing a suit without merit in hopes of a “handsome settlement.”
“We believe their case was poorly prepared,” said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy. He said the company would stipulate that $800,000 was an appropriate amount for ACI to pay to avoid a lengthy dispute.
A hearing is scheduled for April 1.
Last June, lawyers for ACI filed a $500-million lawsuit against Intel, claiming its Pentium II and later chips violated ACI’s patent for “an apparatus and method for the replacement of a slow speed microprocessor in a system board with a high speed microprocessor” by generating different but related clock speeds for processor and chipset from a single sub-harmonic signal. At the time, lawyer Edward O’Connor of Levin Intellectual Property Group said it took until last year to investigate whether Intel was using ACI technology. “(Intel) appeared to be doing so based on Intel’s own public documents as well as the understanding by All Computers as to how the technology probably works,” he told IT Business Group then.
Levin Intellectual Property Grouphas represented a Montebello, Calif., company in a suit against retailer J. C. Penny over a tank top design, and the Society for Promotion of Japanese Animation in a dispute with a former member.
In November 2004, the group filed a patent application on behalf of Eric Park for a “Method and apparatus for internet marketing and transactional development.”
The motion Intel filed with the court implies ACI “did no pre-suit investigation to speak of and then vigorously publicized the event.”
“ACI’s CEO and sole employee Mers Kutt … admitted he had no understanding of the basis for ACI’s suit against Intel and could not list the Intel products ACI was accusing of infringement,” the motion continues.
While Kutt said he couldn’t discuss the legal elements of the situation without consulting O’Connor, he was upbeat. (O’Connor had not returned an interview request at press time.)
“The case is not over by a long shot,” he said. An avid tennis player who also holds patents for racket design, he used a metaphor from his favourite game: “We’re still in the first set … I’m feeling awfully good about things.”
Kutt’s association with technology in Canada has been long and colourful. Born in Winnipeg in 1933, Kutt did stints with Philips, IBM and Honeywell before becoming a professor of mathematics and head of the computer centre at Queen’s University in the late 1960s. He served as president of the Canadian Information Processing Society in 1969 and 1970, helping launch the first Informatics conference in Kingston.
He developed the first key edit system to replace 80- and 90-column punch cards. He is credited with some of the earliest developments in personal computing, including the MCM/70, a 20-pound computer based on an early Intel chip, with APL hardwired into the ROM.
After being shouldered out of his first two companies, Kutt Launched ACI in 1976. ACI created upgrades for 8088 and 80286 through 486 generations of processors. Its All Chargecard upgrade for the 286 was PC Magazine’s Add-In Board of the Year in 1988.
The company’s Web site reflects no more recent products than the 486 upgrade.