VIA Fights Back Against Intel Suit

UPDATED VIA Technologies today issued a statement declaring it will fight a lawsuit filed by Intel on Friday alleging the Taiwan chip designer infringed on five of the company's patents. VIA's new chipsets, P4X266 and P4M266, allow the usage of DDR DRAM with Pentium 4 processors, an ability that has Intel fuming. VIA claims Intel is scaring motherboard makers into refusing to use the new chipsets by threatening legal action.

In the statement, VIA wrote it "has made full preparations against unreasonable competitive measures," adding, "The company re-emphasizes its consistent stand of respecting intellectual property rights and will take necessary action to fully protect VIA's legal rights."

VIA says it will clear the air in an open legal process, and requests that Intel stop any "illegal interference" with its partners.

Intel declined to comment on whether it has threatened manufacturers into refusing to support VIA's P4X266 and P4M266 chipsets. The chip giant will begin selling an alternate low-cost i845 chipset -- similar to VIA's offerings -- Monday, with support for ordinary SDRAM.

Adding another twist to the saga, VIA claims the i845 and even the Pentium 4 processor, which still costs 25 percent more than the P4X266, actually infringes on several of VIA's patents and has filed counter suits against Intel. "Starting today, Via will begin filing a series of patent-infringement lawsuits and civil actions in Taiwan and U.S. courts, seeking damages and injunctive relief," VIA Marketing Director Richard Brown said in a news conference.

VIA alleges Intel did not receive a proper license for technology used in the P4, and willfully destroyed VIA property when it popped balloons promoting the P4X266 at Comutex Taiwan earlier this year.

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