Intel Sues Nvidia Over Chipset License Page: 1
Intel Sues Nvidia Over Chipset License

Just after a calm seemed to have appeared, with Nvidia licensing their SLI technology for use on all Intel-branded X58 motherboards, the "war" between giants Intel and Nvidia has ensued once again.  This time Intel is firing the first shot, filing a lawsuit against Nvidia over the chipset agreement formed between the two companies four years ago.

"Intel has filed suit against Nvidia seeking a declaratory judgment over rights associated with two agreements between the companies. The suit seeks to have the court declare that Nvidia is not licensed to produce chipsets that are compatible with any Intel processor that has integrated memory controller functionality, such as Intel’s Nehalem microprocessors and that Nvidia has breached the agreement with Intel by falsely claiming that it is licensed. Intel has been in discussions with Nvidia for more than a year attempting to resolve the matter but unfortunately we were unsuccessful. As a result Intel is asking the court to resolve this dispute."

Intel went on to comment that re-negotiation is not out of the question.

"I wouldn't rule out a re-negotiation if we win the suit," said Intel spokesperson Chuck Mulloy in a telephone interview. "There are options available to us and re-negotiating the license is one of them."

Mulloy also wanted to make it clear that the filing was not a suit in the sense that Intel is not seeking payment for damages, but rather simply wants Nvidia to pay the legal fees should Intel win the case.

The question to bring up here is, why is this only occurring now?  Intel has already seemingly shutdown Nvidia's chipset manufacturing for their primary Nehalem CPU platform, the Core i7.  What has Nvidia done recently to prompt such an action?

Something Nvidia spokesperson Ujesh Desai had to say may shed a little light on things.  In a talk with bit-tech, Nvidia mentions that their roadmap has not changed with this suit and even hinted that chipsets for Nehalem and beyond may be on the horizon.

Nvidia issued an official press release in response to this lawsuit.  In it, they express their belief that Intel's claims won't hold water, saying:

“We are confident that our license, as negotiated, applies,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. “At the heart of this issue is that the CPU has run its course and the soul of the PC is shifting quickly to the GPU. This is clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business.”

Jen-Hsun goes on to say that it seems that Intel feels threatened by all of the innovations Nvidia has come up with over the concerned time span, specifically mentioning the recently announced ION platform, which pairs Intel's low-cost, low-power Atom CPU with an integrated Nvidia GPU/northbridge/southbridge combo chip to offer greater performance over Intel's own platform offering.

Do you think that Intel is making a legitimate claim?  Or is this simply an attempt to put a lid on some of Nvidia's more recent projects?

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