Nvidia countersues Intel over chipset license

This is getting interesting. Last month, Intel filed a lawsuit against Nvidia over a chipset licensing dispute. In short, Nvidia believes its license agreement with Intel allows it to produce chipsets for Intel CPUs with integrated memory controllers (like the Core i7), but Intel disagrees.

Well, Nvidia says it has now filed a countersuit against Intel, alleging that Intel is breaching the aforementioned license by trying to block Nvidia from making Core i7 chipsets. And here’s the interesting part: Nvidia threatens to “terminate Intel’s license to NVIDIA’s valuable patent portfolio.”

Nvidia explains itself later in the press release, saying Intel “took a license to NVIDIA’s rich portfolio of 3D, GPU, and other computing patents” in return for the 2004 chipset license. If Nvidia is victorious, it could put a damper—or collect hefty royalties—on sales of not just Intel’s integrated GPUs, but also upcoming Larrabee discrete graphics processors.

This licensing spat sounds a bit like the ongoing dispute between Intel and AMD over the two firms’ cross-licensing agreement. Intel thinks AMD violated the agreement when it spun off its foundry business, but AMD believes its competitor’s threats to revoke the agreement are themselves grounds for the revocation of Intel’s licenses to AMD technology. And, as we all know, Intel uses AMD’s x86-64 tech in most of its shipping processors.

Comments closed
    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 14 years ago

    intel is strategizing like germany in WWII they have started a war on two fronts and can’t hope to win. either war being lost could result in the other being lost, ultimately damaging intel drastically.

    My biggest bif with intel is there socket scheme, so what is really the socket for the future desktop consumer/enthusiast market, i7, or i5, why even have two different sockets?

    • pluscard
    • 14 years ago

    Intel has a long “history”.

    -In 1993, AMD got a new trial because of “discovery abuse” by Intel.

    -In 2007 Intel “lost” thousands of emails that were under subpoena, in the 2005 antitrust suit.

    -Intel has been found by the FTC in 3 different countries around the world with antitrust abuses. (Japan, Korea, and the EU)

    Intel is not “wrong” because it’s big, but history shows a clear pattern of abuse.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 14 years ago

    Just because Intel is big doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 14 years ago

    Nice double meaning wrt printing money.

    • pluscard
    • 14 years ago

    Just for some perspective – here is some Intel/AMD litigation history:

    September 23, 1990 Intel sought injunctive relief and damages with respect to AMD’s 80C287, a math coprocessor designed to function with the 80286. Intel claimed copyright infringement by AMD on certain Intel microcode.
    June 17, 1992 Jury determined that AMD did not have the right to use Intel microcode in the 80C287.

    ._[http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/content_type/DownloadableAssets/AMD_-_Intel_Litigation_History.pdf<]§

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    Last I checked, AMD can’t just print money. That’s reserved for Intel (and maybe Microsoft, once upon a time).

    • A_Pickle
    • 14 years ago

    In other words, Intel, you aren’t the totally boss mutha****a you thought you were. Now put the piece down, take a hit from the bong, and just make some bitchin’ processors.

    Is that so hard?

    • bdwilcox
    • 14 years ago

    Hey, if it’s good enough for the US government…

    • LovermanOwens
    • 14 years ago

    I thought that Nvidia’a IGP was better then Intel’s across the board? So at least they have that and SLI going for them. Plus you can’t forget their silly rebranding strategies, over-expensive top end GPU’s, and weight they pull with most game developers (for ex: Assissan’s Creed patch controversy)

    • LovermanOwens
    • 14 years ago

    I wasn’t saying it was relevant, i was just suggesting that it would be perfect karma if they get nailed for their prior (imo) wrongdoings

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    Yeah, a $2B company with $5B in debt should buy a $4B company. That would be a neat…trick.

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    Yeah, AMD+nVidia made more sense technically and strategically, but not not monetarily (and I don’t think the clash of egos would’ve worked either). nVidia was one of AMD’s earliest and best allies in the original Opteron era.

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    They may not be able to build a competitive GPU in the future without infringing on nVIdia’s patents. That they’re not using them in their current IGPs (which were designed several years ago) tells you nothing about what they may be designing now.

    • grantmeaname
    • 14 years ago

    they tried, but then their market cap died and they bought ATi

    • grantmeaname
    • 14 years ago

    why would they have signed a patent agreement and not used any of the patents? that’s just stupid.

    • Meadows
    • 14 years ago

    I bet intel uses at least some of nVidia’s ideas in their graphics, or else the issue wouldn’t have surfaced. Believe it or not, a lot of people use intel graphics, offices may depend on it as the /[

    • no51
    • 14 years ago

    For Nvidia suing AMD go to page 129
    For AMD suing Nvidia go to page 283
    For Via coming in from behind and beating everyone, go to page a doctor because you’re probably delusional.

    • ludi
    • 14 years ago

    I should buy a Ferrari. That would also be neat.

    • SubSeven
    • 14 years ago

    Think of it this way… even if they do have internal council (which they do), these internal lawyers will have a crap load more work to do. The odds are more lawyers will be needed (hence the winner part) to tackle this very large case. Furthermore, as others have stated, in large disputes like this that go on for years at time, external parties are always consulted. Again, lawyers are the winners.

    • Thanato
    • 14 years ago

    AMD should buy Nvidia…:o that would be neat.

    • Krogoth
    • 14 years ago

    Expect Intel’s GPU is quite sufficient for light-gaming and non-gaming usage. Any serious PC gamer would get a discrete solution from the start. Making the entire point moot.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 14 years ago

    NV…the non-greedy company!?

    This is nothing more than the usual licensing pissing matches. It will probably be worked out ‘to the satisfaction of both companies’ or some such and they’ll move on.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 14 years ago

    I’m pretty sure he and most everyone else knows what you were referring to and as a consumer of a companies products choosing to buy based upon those things is fine but it is not relevant in an unrelated legal case.

    • Krogoth
    • 14 years ago

    Why is Nvidia trying so hard? Have they not gotten through their skulls that their platform simply cannot match Intel in terms of performance, features (minus SLI), *[

    • pogsnet
    • 14 years ago
    • LovermanOwens
    • 14 years ago

    Well worded responce Uber. In this case there isn’t anything unethical going on, well…if you don’t mind companies using legal routes to defeat the competition(some would argue that is a dirty way, not me in this case). I was referring to it’s shady business deals in the past to various PC makers in providing a discount/refund/bonus/payoff whatever you want to call it, as long as the PC maker didn’t provide any PC’s with other rival CPU’s.

    • clone
    • 14 years ago

    I’m inclined to agree, Nvidia will be the big loser in all of this…. their chipset business is on the way out and SLI won’t save it even if Intel isn’t allowed to offer it.

    I don’t believe Intel is using much Nvidia GPU tech atm…. it certainly doesn’t show in Intel GPU perf.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 14 years ago

    Intel has /[

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    And in your determination what was unethical in this particular case? There’s plenty of room for bad faith here, of course, but their behavior in other areas and disputes isn’t particularly relevant in this one, so I’m wondering if you have some particular insight?

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    Of course they have internal counsel. But they aren’t staffed to handle major litigation. And “a retainer” doesn’t buy you full coverage for it either. Both sides will be retaining outside counsel — that ‘s part of the song and dance, to prove your threat is serious. (That’s what the lawyers tell them, anyway — in any war, it’s the guys who arm both sides that come out the big winners).

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    As always in these kinds of things, it’s the children that get hurt. Won’t someone think of the children?

    • khands
    • 14 years ago

    Intel needs to bitchslap Nvidia, then AMD needs to (finish) bitchslap(ing) Intel. Then if AMD finally comes up, pays off some debt, and gets profitable, they need to get bitchslapped by Nvidia.

    • khands
    • 14 years ago

    That, or technilogical Armageddon. It’s like a pick your own path story!

    • bdwilcox
    • 14 years ago

    For this type of litigation, most large corporations will use external counsel.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 14 years ago

    Re: lawyers. I strongly suspect that these companies have at least some full-time corporate lawyers on their payrolls, or at least some on retainer. I don’t know that in cases like this the ‘lawyers are teh winnars’ bit is true.

    • CheetoPet
    • 14 years ago

    All thats left now is for AMD & nVidia to sue each other and the order of the universe shall be complete.

    • bdwilcox
    • 14 years ago

    I propose a simple solution: Both companies should just deliver giant dump trucks full of money to the lawyers while the companies just keep doing what they’re doing.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 14 years ago

    Yeah that’s all that will come of these lawsuits. People make way too much of them and get all fanboyish and emotional, for the companies it’s just part of doing business.

    • maroon1
    • 14 years ago

    If Nvidia make a chipset for i7 then the only reason to buy it if it cost significantly less than X58

    • Meadows
    • 14 years ago

    Intel doesn’t exactly win if their integrated- and upcoming graphics suffer because nVidia decides to quote XFX and “play hard”.

    • SubSeven
    • 14 years ago

    Both the companies lose in this…. and so do their shareholders. The clear winners here are going to be the lawyers.

    • LovermanOwens
    • 14 years ago

    It would be nice to see Intel put in its place for its, some would say “borderline unethical”, business practices.

    • Farting Bob
    • 14 years ago

    I have a feeling this will end up with both companies agreeing to carry on the status quo. Intel benefits from SLI licensing and im sure plenty of smaller things, it would be a dumb move of them to lose it over this.

    • Mentawl
    • 14 years ago

    Funny, I kinda wish the same thing about nVidia!

    • derFunkenstein
    • 14 years ago

    cat fight!

    • AKing
    • 14 years ago

    The road goes both ways and maybe Intel tried to both have and eat their cake here…

    Agrees with Meadows save for the uncouth terminology. Here Intel is buying up companies right and left and having CEO’s with the primitive philosophy of “only the paranoid survive”. Yet they take such drastic measures because of marketdetails.

    • Meadows
    • 14 years ago

    It would be nice to see intel bitchslapped to such a degree that the whole world hears its thunder.

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