MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- MIPS Technologies Inc. today claimed a legal victory in a judge's ruling on the interpretation of a key disputed patent in its lawsuit against Lexra Inc., which is accused of infringing upon RISC processor instruction-set technology.
Mountain View-based MIPS said a federal judge in the Northern District of California ruled in its favor on Friday, largely embracing the company's overall interpretation of patents during the "Markman hearing" portion of the case. Moreover, the company said, the U.S. District Court "wholly embraced the MIPS position with regards to the critical '976 patent," which covers unaligned load and store instructions in RISC processors.
"This is the start of the lengthy trial phase that will proceed in U.S. district court," said John Bourgoin, chairman and chief executive officer of MIPS Technologies. He added that the company remains confident in its legal position in the dispute with Lexra regarding two or more of its 130 worldwide patents.
San Jose-based Lexra was not immediately available for a response to MIPS Technologies' announcement of the judge's ruling. Lexra has argued that the MIPS patent on unaligned load/store functions was invalid, partly because an older IBM Corp. patent covered the same technology claims (see Dec. 11 story). Lexra has also argued that its software approach to the unaligned load/store functions also excludes the from protection under the MIPS patent.
But today, MIPS said the U.S. district judge rejected Lexra's attempt to limit the claims of Patent No. 4,814,976 to hardware implementations. MIPS asserted that its patent covers software implementations of unaligned load and store instructions, including programs used in Lexra's RISC processor design.
Lexra has asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reexamine validity of MIPS's '703 patent. Today, MIPS said it has recently presented its position to the U.S. patent office and expects a final ruling soon. In June, the company said it had received a favorable ruling from the patent office on eight of 14 claims contained in the '703 patent.