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Intel Sued Over Atom Power Management Feature

By - Source: ConceivablyTech | B 35 comments

Intel, Marvell and Freescale are being sued over a common technology used to reduce the power consumption of processors.

Intel used such a technology, called Speedstep, since 2000, but is now being asked to pay damages, license fees, and attorney's fees in a patent infringement suit.

The suit was filed by Frisco, Texas-based Power Management Systems, which claims rights to a patent that describes a "power management apparatus collocated on the same integrated circuit as the functional unit that it manages."

The patent was filed in January 1994 by Dublin, California-based Electronics Products Company and was granted in April of 1996. There was no information how that patent found its way to Power Management Systems and why the patent infringements complaints are now filed more than 10 years after Intel introduced this technology in its products. It is interesting to note that the plaintiff does not target the entire processor line of Intel, but just the Atom 600-series of CPUs.

However, the case could set a precedence and may only be limited because of simplicity and cost reasons at this time. If a patent violation is confirmed, Intel (and others) may be on the hook for substantial damages and license payments. Regardless, it's unlikely that Freescale, Marvell and Intel will simply roll over and pay.

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  • 29 Hide
    Martin9630 , August 24, 2011 10:50 AM
    As soon as I saw 'sue' first thought: 'Apple'. Looks like I'm wrong.
  • 26 Hide
    hannibal , August 24, 2011 11:07 AM
    So it is illegal to save electricity if you don't pay royalties... Nice... This patent system is so broken...
  • 21 Hide
    junixophobia , August 24, 2011 12:12 PM
    no wonder there is more and more lawyer than engineer in US...
Other Comments
  • 29 Hide
    Martin9630 , August 24, 2011 10:50 AM
    As soon as I saw 'sue' first thought: 'Apple'. Looks like I'm wrong.
  • 20 Hide
    Pyree , August 24, 2011 10:56 AM
    Martin9630As soon as I saw 'sue' first thought: 'Apple'. Looks like I'm wrong.

    I was think along the same line but you beat me to it.
  • 26 Hide
    hannibal , August 24, 2011 11:07 AM
    So it is illegal to save electricity if you don't pay royalties... Nice... This patent system is so broken...
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , August 24, 2011 11:39 AM
    They can now sue for an idea? Can't more than one person share the same idea. It's not like Intel is using their technology.
  • 16 Hide
    flclkun , August 24, 2011 12:00 PM
    Intel will win, and crush the shit out of these redneck-trash tards.
  • 21 Hide
    junixophobia , August 24, 2011 12:12 PM
    no wonder there is more and more lawyer than engineer in US...
  • 1 Hide
    shqtth , August 24, 2011 12:14 PM
    Doesn't speedstep require the OS to support it? So the OS monitors cpu usage, and activates the proper power state. (just changing the cpu speed on the fly). The CPU/BIOS has pre-programmed processor states and usage data.

    If the OS doesn't support the powermanagement features, they are not activated. So in a way it requires software. So its not like the cpu throttles itself.
  • 15 Hide
    Haserath , August 24, 2011 12:20 PM
    I'm sorry, if the patent shows a design of exactly how the "apparatus" works to cut down on energy usage and the companies used it, then give it to them; if it's just some general idea about power management with some apparatus, SCREW THEM.
  • 6 Hide
    lamorpa , August 24, 2011 12:39 PM
    Maybe they can sue manufacturers of 10 speed bikes. You have the same power source, but you ratchet your speed up and down with the gears...
  • 6 Hide
    tajisi , August 24, 2011 1:12 PM
    Another case of patent trolling. Why bother having an idea when you can just buy up ideas from others and sue a decade down the road?
  • 1 Hide
    wiyosaya , August 24, 2011 1:38 PM
    hannibalSo it is illegal to save electricity if you don't pay royalties... Nice... This patent system is so broken...

    100 percent agreed. In the early years of airplanes, the government asked Boeing and the Wright Brothers to play nice with each other and stop suing each other. It is my understanding that the Wright Brothers insistence on suing competitors hurt their business rather than helping it. This is, perhaps, part of the reason there is no "Wright Brothers Aircraft" company that exists today. It is unfortunate that there is no better means to protect the right to make an income from an idea.
    rotsaeThey can now sue for an idea? Can't more than one person share the same idea. It's not like Intel is using their technology.

    That is what a patent is. It is considered the right to sue anyone or any entity when they use your patented idea without your permission. I am not a patent lawyer, however, if the patent is valid, and it will almost certainly be challenged in this case, it sounds broad enough where those being sued would have to pay.
  • 1 Hide
    timaeus , August 24, 2011 1:49 PM
    wiyosayaThat is what a patent is. It is considered the right to sue anyone or any entity when they use your patented idea without your permission.

    Err, not exactly. The patent is basically showing that you "own" the idea for a certain period of time, and if someone else wishes to use your idea, then they have to pay you to do so. Lawsuits come in if that licensing does not happen.
  • 2 Hide
    reggieray , August 24, 2011 1:53 PM
    The patent system is broken. The general grab all patents are rubbish. A patent should only be granted if you can prove you are actually going to manufacture the said patent within 90 days, if not it should be null and void.
  • 5 Hide
    Ogdin , August 24, 2011 1:54 PM
    They need to take all the people responsible for the current patent system,put them in a line in front of open pit and let the bullets fly.Then maybe on the next batch they could do the same to all the lawyers that make a living off these pointless suits.
  • -1 Hide
    JamesT5192 , August 24, 2011 2:10 PM
    "power management apparatus collocated on the same integrated circuit as the functional unit that it manages."

    They own the patent for a switch and they're suing Intel? Sorry, the programing code is not an apparatus. NEXT!!!
  • 2 Hide
    deanjo , August 24, 2011 2:14 PM
    flclkunIntel will win, and crush the shit out of these redneck-trash tards.


    Intel winning a lawsuit? Now that would be something new...
  • -8 Hide
    geekapproved , August 24, 2011 2:14 PM
    Why does big Intel have to steal all it's ideas from small companies? This is like the 10th time since 2006 that Intel has been sued for patent infringement, what a joke.
  • 1 Hide
    hoofhearted , August 24, 2011 2:21 PM
    Quote:
    why the patent infringements complaints are now filed more than 10 years after Intel introduced this technology in its products.


    Because it is a popular thing to do nowadays. If this keeps up, creative thought will be no more (unless you can afford it).
  • -1 Hide
    ucther , August 24, 2011 2:38 PM
    The current patent system is mostly great. It promotes innovation and creativity
    I have patents. I am constantly trying to find better ways to do things that I patent with no intention of going to my garage and making things. I make money selling my ideas to companies. If I could not patent my ideas then anyone that I try to sell my ideas to could simply steal them and all my time and creativity would be wasted.
    It has never happened to me but I have associates that have tried to sell their ideas and the company stole the idea and said that to get royalties he would have to sue them and spend $10 million in lawyer fees so it just was not worth the effort.

    It is illegal using of patented ideas that is killing innovation. All of us that are trying to constantly improve things will stop if there in no monetary benefit for our ideas.
  • 3 Hide
    rantoc , August 24, 2011 3:00 PM
    junixophobiano wonder there is more and more lawyer than engineer in US...


    The legal costs to even consider a new product prohibits the smaller sized companies to do so, no wonder the US ecconomy/politics looks like it does when soon only a handfull huge companys will remain when the rest is crushed in legal battles rather than innovation and superior products.
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