Intel has filed a countersuit against Intergraph in a pre-emptive move against the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into the chip giant's alleged monopolistic practices.
The chip giant issued its response to Intergraph's suit in an Alabama court and, at the same time, claimed the workstation maker had infringed seven of its own patents. Intel also claimed it had a long-standing cross-licensing deal with Intergraph, which annulled the case against it, and asked for a summary judgement in its favour.
According to Intel, its licensing deal with Intergraph dates back to a contract with National Semiconductor made in 1976. National Semiconductor owned Fairchild Semiconductor, which it sold to Intergraph in 1987, and Intel is arguing that the so-called 'ancestor agreements' then passed to Intergraph.
The motion for summary judgement was intended to pre-empt a trial, but Intel's countersuit over patents was an additional twist in the legal saga. Intel appeared to have bowed to PC vendor pressure to release a low-cost processor using the Socket architecture, but denied it will abandon its proprietary alternative, Slot One.
Intel will release versions of the forthcoming Mendocino processor for budget PCs for both architectures early next year. Mendocino was the next release of the Celeron CPU, targeted at the burgeoning sub-$1,000 PC market, which does not support Socket.
Socket versions of Mendocino will be cheaper than Slot Ones. Intel claimed they will be identical in functionality but will not be compatible with earlier socket designs.
The price will appease some system makers, which have complained about the wafer thin margins they make from consumer PCs built around Slot One chips.
An Intel representative said: 'Socket chips are cheaper to make and you won't need retaining clips on the processor, as with Slot One.'
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