Intel and Nvidia hug it out, announce new cross-licensing deal

After firing lawsuits back and forth, Intel and Nvidia appear to have buried the hatchet. The two have put an end to all outstanding legal disputes between them and entered a new long-term cross licensing deal. Here’s a snippet from the official press release:

“This agreement ends the legal dispute between the companies, preserves patent peace and provides protections that allow for continued freedom in product design,” said Doug Melamed, Intel senior vice president and general counsel. “It also enables the companies to focus their efforts on innovation and the development of new, innovative products.”

Under the transaction, Intel receives a license to NVIDIA’s patents subject to the terms of the agreement. NVIDIA receives a license to Intel’s patents subject to the terms of the agreement, including that x86 and certain other products are not licensed to NVIDIA under the agreement. Intel and NVIDIA have also exchanged broad releases for all legal claims, including any claims of breach of their previous license agreement.

Note that this cross-licensing agreement does not include an x86 license. ARM is still Nvidia’s CPU strategy, it would seem.

As a part of the deal, Intel has agreed to pay Nvidia a cool $1.5 billion over the next five years. That represents nearly two quarters worth of revenue for Nvidia, which now appears to have the option of reviving its chipset division. Given how slowly Intel has been to adopt new technologies like PCI Express 2.0, Serial ATA 6Gbps, and USB 3.0, a little competition in the core-logic department certainly couldn’t hurt.

Comments closed
    • Stargazer
    • 9 years ago

    Two Intel/Nvidia related things I would like to see:

    Optimus-like technology for the desktop

    Multi-threaded AVX software PhysX

    I wonder if this deal makes any of those things more likely…

      • Chrispy_
      • 9 years ago

      “Optimus-like technology for the desktop.”

      This, especially now that every new intel CPU has a GPU capable of extremely efficient, low demand graphics.

    • lethal
    • 9 years ago

    According to Ars there is some NVIDIA IP inside Sandy Bridge, so I’m guessing that Intel would just rather put a fat check now than going to court again down the road.

      • TREE
      • 9 years ago

      If that is truly the case they would have gone to court over IP infringement. This would have likely had the effect of pulling Sandy Bridge from market until the dispute could be resolved, as each unit sold is potentially a part owned Nvidia product…

      Or at least these are the kinds of demands that I would make, should a multi billion dollar company steal my IP.

        • MathMan
        • 9 years ago

        Which is exactly what happened.

        Intel first claimed that Nvidia didn’t have a license for their future busses and decided to sue for that. Nvidia retaliated by claiming that this bus license was given in return for their GPU related patents and that by sueing to cancel the bus license, Intel implicitly lost the license to those GPU patents.

        Which endangered all Intel’s GPU products (crappy as they may be.)

        IOW: this has always been a battle related to IP infringement.

        What’s interesting is that Intel must have known up front that Nvidia would counter sue. Intel must have thought it was worth it: the guaranteed elimination of Nvidia’s chipset business vs the cost of some kind of settlement (much) further down the road.

          • TREE
          • 9 years ago

          If thats what happend, Nvidia should have continued with the case. Not only would it have resulted in the possible cancellation of a milestone product release for Intel, it would have also meant that Nvidia would have upset the crystal ball plan of Intel.

          I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but it seems to me that if Intel knew this would happen, then they also knew that somewhere down the road they are likely to benefit by a much greater amount than they are to lose from settling. Which basically spells to me that they aren’t innovating anymore, and instead choose to cheat the market through use of their monopolistic powers to fight off any possible long term competition.

          Knowing this, I wonder why Nvidia really settled? Why also did they need new license terms with Intel who now have even less technological interest to Nvidia since their ARM strategy announcement? These questions beg the even bigger question, what IP infringements -all be it possibly minor or old, are Nvidia making?

            • StuG
            • 9 years ago

            Intel has always been the way you described them, they have always looked for ways to cheat the market. They want to do that despite if they are innovating or not, and this makes sense as to why they took this route. Effectively killing off Nvidia’s chipset coupled with the rough Fermi launch push Nvidia into an area where they were bleeding money. I think Nvidia got their Fermi crap together, and choose to settle to calm the waters. Things can only stay so bad in your company for so long, especially when you have the ability to solve it by just going “ok”.

            • ludi
            • 9 years ago

            I suppose that works if you have a vindictive streak and like-minded shareholders, but I fail to see the business sense of it. In exchange for settling, they just got $1.5 billion-with-a-‘b’ in spending money, and a broad cross-licensing agreement that will allow them to expand their operations back into some lost markets; what’s not to like?

    • Xenolith
    • 9 years ago

    This is more of Intel giving up on their own GPU tech for inclusion in an APU. They couldn’t compete with AMD on that front. Now they have surpassed AMD.

    Nvidia has no interest in x86 for their APU/APX solutions moving forward… they have made that clear the past few days.

    • herothezero
    • 9 years ago

    I wish nVidia was a viable choice, and that we weren’t faced with fewer choices and increasing platform costs.

    Intel got off cheap.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    Wow, what was I saying earlier about awkwardness? Looks like the foo’s on the other shut.

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    So Intel pays off another company it screwed over with anti-competitive behavior. Talk about a shady company. Unfortunately, I am probably going to have to buy one of their products through my next Apple laptop purchase. Been going strong with my PowerPC Powerbook for 6 years now. Oh well. Staying Intel-free was bound to end some day. I guess my money will go to buying off the next company Intel screws.

    Any guesses on who is next for the big Intel pay-off?

      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      You dislike Intel for monopolostic behavior but you have to buy apple laptops? Apple isnt exactly immune from the anti-competitive rumblings.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      you could not buy an apple computer…. get something that’s amd, and avoid intel AND apple. then you’re winning twice!

        • jdaven
        • 9 years ago

        “get something that’s amd, and avoid amd AND apple.”

        This statement makes my brain hurt.

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          that’s cause it has a typo. should be “get something amd, and avoid intel and apple.”

          Sorry, it was late.

            • kamikaziechameleon
            • 9 years ago

            Edit it please. I had to read through this whole convo to make sense of it.

            • kamikaziechameleon
            • 9 years ago

            Edit it please. I had to read through this whole convo to make sense of it.

            • StuG
            • 9 years ago

            Posting twice will get it done twice as fast!

            • Farting Bob
            • 9 years ago

            Posting twice will get it done twice as fast!

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      Um…

      ..never mind. I’d just get ripped to shreds.

    • jjj
    • 9 years ago

    No chipsets for CPUs that have a memory controller(on-die or in-package).The agreement is on Intel’s site.
    The big news is that Intel just got a lot of GPU IP and Nvidia gambled a lot on gaining some IP for Tegra/project Denver and some cash.

    • WaltC
    • 9 years ago

    Basically it looks like Intel offered nVidia $1.5B to drop its suits and go away, and nVidia said, “OK. We weren’t planning on doing anything anyway–so thanks!”…;)

    • Kurotetsu
    • 9 years ago

    Good job Nvidia. As far as bringing back the chipset division, I doubt thats gonna happen. Their announcement that their chipset division was dead had a noticeably ring of finality to it. Even with this cross-licensing deal Nvidia may have lost interest in motherboards completely.

      • Triple Zero
      • 9 years ago

      I concur. I will be surprised if NVIDIA gets back into the Intel chipset business within the next 2 years. Perhaps further out than that they’ll consider it but I seriously doubt seeing any NVIDIA x86 chipsets in the short term.

      • Triple Zero
      • 9 years ago

      Ars reports Jen-Hsun Huang has confirmed NVIDIA will not be getting back into Intel chipset business.

      [url<]http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2011/01/intelnvidia-bombshell-look-for-nvidia-gpu-on-intel-processor-die.ars[/url<] [quote<]One of the products that NVIDIA will not be making as a result of the settlement is an Intel-compatible chipset. Jen-Hsuan made it clear that the company has stated that it has no plans to produce any more Intel-compatible chipsets, and despite settling the DMI bus licensing dispute that shut NVIDIA out of the Intel chipset market, the GPU maker is sticking to its guns.[/quote<]

      • alphadogg
      • 9 years ago

      I guess you could argue that with system-on-a-chip being the trend, no one will be making chipsets, so why would NVidia?

    • kuraegomon
    • 9 years ago

    Erm, as a former 680i motherboard owner speaking to the possibility of Nvidia reviving it’s chipset division – let’s not. Oh, and er, first. For what that’s worth.

      • travbrad
      • 9 years ago

      I concur. I had a couple ‘nforce’ boards and the drivers were some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Their IDE drivers randomly switched my HDDs and DVD drive to PIO mode (imagine running windows from a floppy drive, that’s PIO mode ;)). Windows default drivers fixed the problem..

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        I remember the PIO mess… I think mine was doing it because the CD-ROM drive I had hooked up to the same IDE bus was reading scratched CDs (=errors). It would switch the HDD to PIO and never switch it back until I did it manually.

      • ludi
      • 9 years ago

      Conversely, I owned a few nForce boards and still run one in my aging desktop (Skt939). Great stuff as long as you stayed far away from the hardware firewall fiasco.

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