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Transmeta Corp., an unsuccessful developer of low-power microprocessors that now licenses its technologies to third-parties, said Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit against Intel Corp., the world’s largest x86 chipmaker, over alleged patent infringement.

The complaint charges that Intel has infringed and is infringing Transmeta’s patents by making and selling a variety of microprocessor products including at least Intel’s 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 attorneys’ fees.

Transmeta has not specified which of its patented technologies does Intel use in its chips starting from the Pentium III and whether the dispute is over mobile or desktop microprocessors.

“Intel has acknowledged that Transmeta has been an innovative spur to some of Intel’s own development efforts, roadmap decisions and new product successes. At the same time, Intel has practiced multiple Transmeta inventions in its major microprocessor product lines. After endeavoring 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,” said said John O’Hara Horsley, executive vice president and general counsel at Transmeta.

Originally Transmeta developed its own microprocessors for low-power applications, but as the company failed to popularize and broadly deploy its Crusoe and Efficeon chips, once Intel’s low-power Pentium III-S and Pentium M emerged, the not very high demand for energy efficient Transmeta chips began to dip. The company now licenses its LongRun and LongRun 2 technologies to companies like Sony, whereas Advanced Micro Devices tries to push Efficeon processor into its platforms under 50x15 initiative.


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