Here’s a case to watch. The University of Wisconsin in Madison is accusing processor giant Intel of stealing their intellectual property. A lawsuit has been filed by UW’s technology transfer office (WARF, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation) in which it charges Intel with infringement of one of its patents. The patented invention improves the efficiency and speed of computer processing and this technology is used by Intel in its Intel Core 2 Duo processor.
WARF filed this complaint to ensure that the interests of the UW-Madison and its inventors are protected and that WARF receives the compensation to which it is entitled for Intel’s unlicensed use of the invention. This compensation will be used to advance continued research at the university. The foundation’s complaint identifies the Intel CoreTM 2 Duo microarchitecture as infringing WARF’s United States Patent No. 5,781,752, entitled “Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer.”
The technology, patented in 1998, was developed by four researchers at the UW-Madison, including Professor Gurindar Sohi, currently the chair of the university’s Computer Science Department. Intel has aggressively marketed the benefits of this invention as a feature of its Core 2 technology. “The technology significantly enhances opportunities for instruction level parallelism in modern processors, thereby increasing their execution speed,” states Michael Falk, WARF general counsel.
The researchers had several discussions with Intel representatives on the possibility of licensing the technology. Intel repeatedly refused but nevertheless incorporated it into its products. Intel never informed the researchers that it was using the patented technology. WARF is now asking the court to declare that Intel is infringing on its patent and to stop Intel from selling the product. Also they asked for Intel to cover WARF’s legal fees and pay damages to WARF. Considering Intel’s dominant position in this market and the huge success of the Core 2 Duo, this last thing might prove very lucrative for the University of Wisconsin.
If it can be conclusively proven that Intel is using this specific technology, I guess that Intel will soon get together with WARF to come to a settlement…