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Transmeta Sues Intel for Patent Infringement 161

Cr0w T. Trollbot writes "Today Transmeta filed suit against Intel for patent infringement. From the article: 'The suit [...] alleges that Intel infringed upon ten of Transmeta's patents. The patents cover computer architecture and power efficiency technologies.' Transmeta offered a low-power x86 processor until last year which used Transmeta's vaunted 'code morphing' software."
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Transmeta Sues Intel for Patent Infringement

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  • Go figure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @07:28PM (#16401575) Homepage Journal
    When the chips are down, ( no pun intended ) and your business model is going up in a fireball.. sue someone!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @07:32PM (#16401631)
    Transmeta has alleged this before, as have other companies. It's nearly unavoidable in the technology business that your invention will have something in common with theirs. It all comes down to a lot highly paid patent lawyers and engineers showing diagrams in court and vouching for when they designed what, if it even makes it into court.

    Most likely outcome: settlement involving a small amount of money and a cross-licensing agreement. No judge in their right mind would grant an injunction against shipping the majority of the world's processors, no matter what the infringement.
  • by hurfy ( 735314 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @07:34PM (#16401669)
    "including at least Intel's Pentium III, Pentium 4, Pentium M, Core and Core 2 product lines."

    So, when was Pentium 3?

    They waited until they were no longer in the market to sue so they cant be counter sued as effectively. Surely they must have done something they could be sued for, go get them anyway. This just smells funny. If your IP is so great why couldn't they make salable product out of it?

    I think these IP lawsuits work like games...the one crying cheater loudest is probably the guilty one ;)
  • by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @07:35PM (#16401679)
    to be fair.. why don't they go after AMD too.. why not . more money right?

    the only thing i can think is that if i remember right.. Intel owns the ARM .. which does have alot in comon when Transmeta.. but something else makes me think they they had something todo with that..

    or i am wrong.. not sure
  • by Chirs ( 87576 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @07:39PM (#16401745)

    It seems like everyone so far is poo-pooing the lawsuit.

    Has anyone considered that it might actually be possible that Transmeta really does have valid patents, and Intel really might be infringing them?
  • by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) * <slashdot AT uberm00 DOT net> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @07:56PM (#16401939) Homepage Journal
    This is why business logic patents either shouldn't last nearly as long, especially technological patents, or (preferably) shouldn't exist at all. I don't remember Transmeta doing anything to advance the useful arts and sciences using these technologies, yet Intel has done so and made quite a bit of money in the meantime.

    Competition drives technology forward.
    Patents effectively outlaw competition.
    Therefore, patents kill the need for the company holding the patent to advance their own technology any further.

    The only reason these sorts of patents still exist are because some very powerful corporations can effectively stunt the market using them; by default nobody can compete on the same playing field since to do so they would have to have licenses to use the technologies in question, and companies like Intel and IBM own literally thousands of patents on just about everything. So they license their patent libraries among themselves, forming a sort of corporate clique in which outsiders are persona non grata.

    Maybe once enough of these patents bite companies like Intel in the ass, things will change. Unfortunately I think it'll take a while for that to happen.
  • by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @08:09PM (#16402099) Homepage Journal
    How would you feel if you invented a high-efficiency engine design, failed to market it to any of the major auto-makers and as you were going bankrupt, Ford started producing something very similar and selling it without giving you credit?

    This has happened many times in history and the 'Ford's in those cases have had to either pay up to the inventor or had really good lawyers.

    That's what patents are for. Why don't you go file a few of your own instead of being pissed for no reason?
  • You said it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BeeBeard ( 999187 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @08:15PM (#16402145)
    From the article:

    "Last year, Transmeta laid off 67 employees in a restructuring plan aimed to focus more heavily on IP and the phase out its less profitable processors." (emphasis added)

    Patent portfolio operation?!? Whatever do you mean?? ;-)
  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) * on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @11:27PM (#16403803)
    It takes a lot of balls to sue the company whose products form the basis of your business model. If these guys were so brilliant why didn't they create their own unique processor rather than create a super-slow version of Intel's.
  • Re:You said it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2006 @02:51AM (#16404883)
    Yes. Innovation is 1% inspiration (or ideas) and 99% perspiration, or work. Ok, Transmeta did create some really cool CPUs, but in the long run they just didn't cut it, and so why should the now be able to sit back and say "but those were our ideas, boohoooo"?

    Ideas should be free. If Transmeta doesn't create any products anymore, why shouldn't anybody else be able to do it? And even if Transmeta was still creating products, why should that exclude others from using good ideas in their products too? "Intellectual property" sucks.
  • Re:Sigh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by orasio ( 188021 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @09:24AM (#16407137) Homepage
    The issue is patents.

    The guys a Transmeta are doing the best use of patents I can think of.

    They failed at developing a product, for more than just technological reasons, and now they want to get paid for stuff they invented and other people supposedly implemented.

    That is how patents are supposed to work, there is no failure.

    The problem is that patents as a whole, even when they do what they are supposed to do, and nobody abuses the system, just don't work well for the community.

    It's would be great that Transmeta got paid for what they developed, but if they are succesful in this, everybody else loses.
    Chip companies will have more legal work regarding patents, and that is less money for R&D. Lots of paths of development will be closed by other companies patents, so innovation actually happens more slowly.

    For me, the problem is that some people think that patents are granted, because somehow the "inventor" deserves to get paid for what he developed. That is something like a subsidy to inventors. You invent something, and the government gives you a monopoly on whatever you invented. In the old days, it was a great deal for everybody. A player invented something, and only 14/20 years later, all the industry was that one step ahead. Usually, new technologies took more than that time to develop, so all the competitors went faster due to this.

    Right now, it just doesn't work, because companies achieve the same breakthroughs with years of difference, and when you get a patent on something, you don't advance the knowledge in that area, you just slow it, for 20 years.
  • by vtcodger ( 957785 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @09:53AM (#16407543)
    Personally, I'm for closing the patent office, in an orderly fashion ... over time... but shutting the whole mess down. Personally, I don't think that Intellectual Property other than trademark is a viable concept in a technologically advanced world.

    It would seem that since Transmeta no longer makes CPUs, they are somewhat safe from the big gun defense in industrial patent wars -- being counter-sued for violating 116 Intel patents. But their patents can still be invalidated, and you can just bet that Intel will try.

    Still, though, this is all kind of stupid and it is a bit hard to see how anyone other than a few lawyers benefits from this sort of stuff. If a patent is a license granted by government for the public good, why are we still issuing the damn things when they apparently no longer promote the public good?

The other line moves faster.