Intel Sued Over Atom Power Management Feature

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.

  • Martin9630
    As soon as I saw 'sue' first thought: 'Apple'. Looks like I'm wrong.
  • Pyree
    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.
  • hannibal
    So it is illegal to save electricity if you don't pay royalties... Nice... This patent system is so broken...
  • 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.
  • flclkun
    Intel will win, and crush the shit out of these redneck-trash tards.
  • junixophobia
    no wonder there is more and more lawyer than engineer in US...
  • shqtth
    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.
  • Haserath
    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.
  • lamorpa
    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...
  • tajisi
    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?