Intel Corp. said it plans to appeal a final judgment entered by a federal court last week that the chip giant's Itanium and Itanium 2 processors infringed on patents held by Intergraph Corp.
Under an agreement worked out between the two companies, Intel will pay Intergraph $150 million in the next 30 days, and the court will suspend a permanent injunction barring Intel from selling Itanium chips during its appeal of the ruling.
If Intel wins the appeal, no further payments will be made to Intergraph. Should Intel lose before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., it can either pay Intergraph another $100 million or redesign around the disputed patents. Any redesign must clear a judicial review and be implemented in the next release of Itanium, according to Intergraph, which is based in Huntsville, Ala.
"We will certainly consider all our options," said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy.
The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in July 2001 and went to trial in July 2002.
On Oct. 10 the court found that two Intergraph patents related to its parallel instruction computing technology were valid, enforceable, and infringed by Intel's Itanium and Itanium 2 products. The court also ruled that Intergraph was entitled to an injunction of both Intel processor lines.
Intel requested a new trial Oct. 18, but the court denied that motion last week.
It's not known how long the appeal will take. Intergraph estimated the process could be as little as eight to 10 months, but Intel's Mulloy said that assessment could be optimistic. "Sometimes they rule very quickly, but I've seen it take two years to get a ruling after oral arguments," he said.
Earlier this year, the two companies settled another patent infringement case that Intergraph had filed in Alabama in 1997. Intel paid Intergraph $300 million for a license to end that case, which related to Pentium II, III, and 4 processors.