Via sues Intel to block sales of Pentium 4

Via Technologies Inc., and its subsidiary company Centaur Technology, in a lawsuit filed Sept. 10 against Intel Corp. for allegedly infringing their patents, are seeking to stop sales of the Pentium 4 family of microprocessors.

The suit was filed in the Federal District Court for the Western District of Texas, where Centaur is based, and alleges that the Pentium 4 line of chips infringes a patent (U.S. Patent Number 6,253,311) jointly held by Via and Centaur. The patent concerns the way in which numbers are stored in the processor, Via said.

The suit asks that Intel be barred from continuing to sell the Pentium 4 and seeks monetary damages. Though the lawsuit was announced last week, Via and Centaur Thursday issued a statement stressing that they are trying to stop sales of the Pentium 4. Via and Centaur issued a statement when the suit was originally filed, but released another statement Thursday because last week's terrorist attacks overshadowed the news, said Dan Havey, director of U.S. marketing at Via.

Intel believes "that our products do not infringe and we've planned a vigorous defense," said Chuck Mulloy, spokesman for Intel.

The timing of Via's suit "is a little coincidental," Havey said. "We had been looking at and assessing our course of action" at the time Intel filed their suit, he said.

Intel and Via have been trading lawsuits since 1999 over chip licensing and patent issues. Earlier in September, Intel hit Via with a patent infringement suit of its own regarding chipsets used in conjunction with the Pentium 4.

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