There is a notable increase in chatter about a possible settlement of a nasty license fight between Intel and Nvidia. The two companies canceled a trial date set for December 6 and it seems as if a suit filed by Intel against Nvidia alleging patent infringement as well as a countersuit by Nvidia that accuses Intel of shutting Nvidia out of being able to offer chipsets for Nehalem processors could soon be resolved.
When Intel decided to integrate a memory controller within Nehalem CPUs, it basically pulled Nvidia's foundation for providing chipsets for Intel processors as it was apparently intended by a cross license agreement (CLA) that was signed by both companies. In Nvidia's view, that was unfair as Intel effectively canceled out one part of the agreement, while it could still access the full GPU patent portfolio for the life of the license. According to that decision, Nvidia's legal right to offer chipsets was limited to Core 2 Duo processors, which, by the way, seems to be at least one reason why Apple is still offering Core 2 Duo processors in Macbooks in combination with Nvidia chipsets.
Of course, Nvidia was not happy and one could argue that Intel's suit against Nvidia was not made in good faith. The company sued to either dissolve the CLA, terminate Intel's rights to use Nvidia's GPU technology or extend Nvidia's right to manufacture Intel-compatible parts. Your guess is as good as ours when it comes to what the outcome may be. But we know that Intel has a tendency to settle out of court and this one could be expensive. The rumored $1 billion payment to Nvidia may be a bit exaggerated, but our common sense suggests that it will cost Intel a few dollars to wiggle its way out of Nvidia's suit.