Intel suffers Germany loss over semiconductor tech

German court imposes injunction against sale of Intel processors in Germany | Decision impacts older processors, while current products remain unaffected | Intel scorns winning party as “a patent troll”.

A regional court in Düsseldorf, Germany, has ruled in favour of a US-based semiconductor  company in a patent infringement case against Intel.

The court has issued an injunction against the sale of certain Intel processors in Germany, following the alleged violation of a patent owned by R2 Semiconductor, according to the Financial Times.

The dispute concerns voltage regulators, with the regional court confirming that Intel had infringed R2 Semiconductor’s integrated voltage regulator technology patent.

The court’s decision, issued on January 7, 2023, specifically targets Intel’s previous-generation processors, including the Core Series ‘Ice Lake’, ‘Tiger Lake’, ‘Alder Lake’, and Xeon Scalable ‘Ice Lake Server’ processors.

The injunction extends beyond processors to include personal computers (PC) and servers based on the affected central processing units (CPU).

Intel’s Core ‘Raptor Lake’ and ‘Raptor Lake Refresh’ processors, and Core Ultra ‘Meteor Lake’ CPUs—the company’s more recent products—are exempt from the ruling and sales can continue in Germany, as reported by the Financial Times.

Intel says it intends to appeal the court’s decision and that it is “disappointed” with the verdict.

R2 a patent troll, claims Intel

“Intel believes companies like R2, which appears to be a shell company whose only business is litigation, should not be allowed to obtain injunctions on CPUs and other critical components at the expense of consumers, workers, national security, and the economy,” Intel told the Financial Times.

The California based company claimed R2 files “serial lawsuits to extract large sums from innovators” and has accused R2 of being a “patent troll”.

While R2 initially filed legal action against Intel in the US, the tech giant claims that after it successfully challenged the validity of R2’s US patent (which was found to be “low-quality”), R2 then redirected its litigation to European courts.

Intel has pledged to protect its customers by taking responsibility for any legal costs or compensations that may arise from the dispute.

‘False narratives’

In response to the decision, R2 issued a statement saying it is “delighted” that the court issued an injunction, arguing that Intel had become “intimately familiar” during failed negotiations, reported Tom’s Hardware.

According to David Fisher, CEO of Intel, the two companies were in the final stages of an investment agreement in 2015.

Fisher responded to the accusation of R2 being a patent troll, arguing that Intel is the only organisation R2 has accused of violating its patents.

“It is unsurprising but disappointing that Intel continues to peddle its false narratives rather than taking responsibility for its repeated and chronic infringement of our patents. We intend to enforce this injunction and protect our valuable IP.

The global patent system is here precisely for the purpose of protecting inventors like myself and R2 Semiconductor,” said Fisher.

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