Intel has fired back within hours of being sued by Intergraph , which said Intel was using strong-arm tactics to take over key microprocessor memory patents.
Intel is seeking a declaratory judgment that the patents Intergraph is claiming are invalid and that Intel was within its rights not to share proprietary information with Intergraph.
"We don't believe the patents they're claiming are valid," said Chuck Mulloy, spokesman for Intel. "In layman's terms, we don't think they invented what they think they invented."
Intergraph had said that Intel infringed on its patents for cache memory architecture on the Clipper microprocessor. Intergraph claimed these patents are "at the heart of the entire Pentium family" of Intel's popular microprocessors, and Intel says they are not related.
Moreover, Intel says it had the right to cease cooperating with Intergraph on joint projects once Intergraph began asserting to all the third-party OEMs this summer that it owned the microprocessor patents, because the company feared being named as a defendant or drawn into a third-party suit.
Intel withdrew marketing support, refused to sign any further nondisclosure agreements, and told third-party vendors they couldn't release confidential Intel information.
Intergraph had portrayed these actions as "anti-competitive."
Intel's lawsuit is separate from the response it will make to Intergraph's original suit, Mulloy said. Intel had been considering filing this suit for some time, but held off while it was still negotiating with Intergraph. However, Intergraph's filing forced the issue, he said.
"We feel fairly confident [we'll prevail]," Mulloy said.