WASHINGTON -- The International Trade Commission has voted to launch an investigation of Intel Corp.'s patent infringement case against Via Technologies Inc. and First International Computer Inc., both based in Taipei, Taiwan. Everex Systems of Fremont, Calif. was also named by Intel and has been included in the ITC case following the commission's vote on Tuesday.
The ITC suit mirrors a similar civil action suit filed against the firms for allegedly violating Intel's patents on the processor and memory controller bus and interfaces used in chip sets. The ITC case allows Intel to seek to bar products of the Taiwan firms from entering the United States if the companies are found guilty of infringing the Intel patents (see Jan. 19 story ).
Intel has been battling Via since last year over the Taiwanese company's chip set that uses a 133-MHz front side processor bus to connect with PC133 SDRAMs. Intel charges that the Via 133-MHz processor bus violates the patented design of the Santa Clara, Calif., chip giant.
The ITC case has been referred to Paul Luckern, administrative law judge, who will hold an evidentiary hearing at a yet-to-be-selected time. His decision may be reviewed by the full commission. The ITC legal process traditionally takes about a year to complete.