Intergraph has won a major victory over Intel after a ruling by a district court in Alabama forced the chip giant to release details of its plans.
The case also raises the likelihood that the US Department of Justice will step up its investigation of Intel as a result of comments made in court.
The court ruling forces Intel to give Intergraph 'advanced product information, advanced microprocessor chip samples, early production chips and production chips', and stops Intel from terminating Intergraph's rights as a strategic customer in current and future programmes. The court also ordered Intel to desist from any action that would damage its relationship with Intergraph, or prevent Intergraph from designing, developing, producing, manufacturing, marketing or selling any products which are based on or incorporate Intel products or information.
The case follows legal action taken by Intel against Intergraph last year. The chip giant prevented the vendor from manufacturing workstations when it withdrew information and advanced plans.
A statement issued by the court concluded there was a 'substantial likelihood that Intergraph will succeed in proving Intel has entered into one or more agreements and contracts in restraint of trade in violation of S1 (of the Sherman Antitrust Act). Intel's refusal to supply advanced CPUs and essential technical information to Intergraph likely violates S2 of the Sherman Act.'
Jim Meadlock, Intergraph CEO, said: 'We believe the court is sending an unmistakably clear and far-reaching message to Intel that there's no place for coercive, monopolistic conduct in the computer industry.'
He claimed the decisions set a precedent for the IT industry. 'They show other computer companies how the courts can protect them, should they be unjustly and illegally assaulted by any company wielding an overpowering market dominance,' he said.
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