Intel, Via settle bulk of patent dispute

Under terms of the settlement, Taiwan's Via has agreed to pay Intel a lump sum along with ongoing royalty fees for the use of certain Intel technology patents, the companies said in the joint statement. Intel, meanwhile, will modify a licensing agreement between the companies so that Via can make and sell chipsets that work with Intel's Pentium III, Celeron and earlier processors. Other terms of the settlement are confidential.

The disagreement stemmed from a 1998 licensing agreement that turned sour when Intel accused the Taiwanese firm of infringing on some of its technology patents. Intel sued Via in US District Court for alleged patent infringement, and then followed up with similar lawsuits in Singapore and the UK.

In January this year, the chip giant asked the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to step in, urging the organisation to bar some of Via's products from the US altogether.

Wednesday's settlement will result in the dismissal of all the suits filed in the UK, Singapore and before the ITC, the companies said. However, it won't end the legal tussle between the companies altogether.

Intel will amend a lawsuit filed in the US District Court in San Francisco to eliminate charges related to chipsets that support Intel microprocessors - but not those that support similar PC chips made by Intel's rival, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), an Intel spokesman said on Wednesday.

Via's right to make chipsets that work with AMD processors, some of which use the same x86-type design as Intel's processors, wasn't part of Intel's original licensing agreement with Via, and is still in dispute, Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said.

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