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Intel gets legal with NVIDIA

by Scott Bicheno on 18 February 2009, 14:00


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Litigious licenses

It looks like it's not just AMD that is demanding the attention of Intel's lawyers these days; we've learnt that NVIDIA has recently become the subject of an Intel court filing too.

A press release from NVIDIA today claims to be responding to a Monday court filing in which Intel alleged that a chipset license agreement between the two companies signed in 2004 does not cover Intel's future generation CPUs with integrated memory controllers, such as Core i7.

CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has been making a lot of noise about NVIDIA's ION platform recently, which is essentially 9400M IGP tailored to work with Intel's Atom CPU. ION claims to bring a much higher level of graphics processing capability to PCs based on Atom, which is almost ubiquitous in the ultra-hot netbook category.

He was quick to get a dig in to Intel in the NVIDIA press release announcing its response. "We are confident that our license, as negotiated, applies," he said. "At the heart of this issue is that the CPU has run its course and the soul of the PC is shifting quickly to the GPU.  This is clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business." Miaow!

There was widespread speculation when ION was first announced that Intel may have something to say about it, as Atom is currently sold together with an Intel chipset. But to date there has been little sign of any aggro from Intel.

NVIDIA claims it "has been attempting to resolve the disagreement with Intel in a fair and reasonable manner for over a year."  It also said its chipsets for Intel's current CPU bus interface are not affected by the dispute. 


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I thought these two had made up over the SLI licensing wibble. Guess not (I know this is about nehalem, not SLI, but still).