Intergraph has announced that its Intellectual Property division has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, the Eastern District of Texas, charging Dell Computer Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company (including Compaq products), and Gateway, Inc., with patent infringement. Specifically, Intergraph claims that products from the three computer vendors infringe U.S. Patent Numbers 4,899,275 and 4,933,835 and 5,091,846 owned by Intergraph. These computer system-level patents relate to cache memory management technology. Until 1993, the ‘275, ‘835, and ‘846 patented “Clipper” technology was embodied in the Company’s workstations.
In 1997, Intergraph put a number of computer companies on notice that the Company believed their products infringed the Clipper system patents, which covered computer systems, not simply the components that comprise such systems. Intergraph continued to offer to negotiate a license for the patents with the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) until 1999 when Intergraph temporarily suspended its enforcement and licensing program while it pursued its litigation against Intel. In 2001, Intergraph renewed its offer to the OEMs to negotiate a license to the Clipper patents.
Intergraph has just completed litigation related to the Clipper patents. The Clipper microprocessor patent suit was filed against Intel in 1997 and settled in April 2002. The settlement agreement with Intel, however, did not include licenses for Intel’s customers – the OEMs who incorporated an Intel processor with non-Intel products in their computers. In fact, the agreement expressly excludes any license regarding the OEMs’ sale of infringing computer systems and specifically records Intergraph’s intention to seek payment for patent licenses from the OEMs. (The settlement agreement can be viewed at https://www.intergraph.com/intel/Settlement%20Sale%20of%20Tech%20and%20 License%20Agmt.pdf – due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste this hyperlink into your Internet browser’s URL address field.)
Intergraph’s Intellectual Property division was created in early 2002, with the goal of protecting the Company’s intellectual capital. Since its inception, the IP division has focused on defining an industry-wide licensing program for the OEMs and plans to continue to engage in licensing discussions throughout the industry. With this litigation, the division also introduces an enforcement program. The choice of strategy differs with each OEM. More information on the IP division can be found at www.intergraph.com/ip.
Intergraph chairman and CEO Jim Taylor said, “We have just completed five years of litigation against Intel and are cognizant of the costs of litigation – both in terms of money and management focus. However, these are valuable patents, and we have an obligation to protect our intellectual property and to seek fair value for its use. The defendants are large and resourceful, and the litigation will no doubt be difficult. However, Intergraph has the resources and the resolve to see it to conclusion.”