U.S.-based chipmaker Intel (News - Alert) Corporation won an appeal in a patent dispute with Negotiated Data Solutions LLC, commonly shortened to N-Data, over Ethernet patents which allow computers to talk to one another more easily.
It was a licensing agreement that saved Intel, as the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit ruled that the company did not infringe on the patents in question as it had licensed them from National Semiconductor Corporation way back in 1976. Since that time, National Semiconductor assigned the patents to Vertical Networks Incorporated in 1998, which in turn assigned them to N-Data.
Because of this licensing agreement, Intel was able to win the case in a Texas court on summary judgment, a ruling with which the appeals court agreed.
This isn't the first time that these two companies have been in a dispute of this nature, as Intel sued N-Data back in 2008 to protect customers, including Dell (News - Alert), from royalty demands on computer technology. This was prompted by N-Data suing Dell, at which point Intel stepped in to cover any liability the PC manufacturer would incur. Intel hoped to see a court rule the N-Data patents in question as invalid or already paid for under an agreement.
This dispute was eventually settled in 2009.
This is just the latest in a long line of patent disputes which Intel has been a part of over the last year. In fact, the company just recently won the first round of another patent dispute with X2Y Attenuators, in which the U.S. International Trade Commission found that Intel did not infringe on X2Y's patents.
Unfortunately, worries that go back to August when this patent case began may hold true in regards to lost jobs in United States manufacturing plants, namely one located in Arizona. While Intel has won this stage of the battle, if the review of the judge’s findings by the entire commission finds that Intel did indeed infringe X2Y's patents, the ITC may block imports of infringing products.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman