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WARF and Intel Settle Patent Suit Over Core 2 Duo

ScuttleMonkey posted about 5 years ago | from the with-a-bat'leth dept.

Patents 79

reebmmm writes "The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and Intel have settled their patent suit over technology developed by Gurindar Sohi, a computer science professor at the University of Wisconsin — Madison. Professor Sohi developed technology that was ultimately patented by WARF using money he received from Intel. Last month, Judge Barbara Crabb found that the funding agreement was ambiguous, but that e-mails revealed that the money was an unrestricted gift and carried with it no obligation to license or assign any inventions to Intel. Trial was scheduled to begin today. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed."

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Hope he never gets funded again (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29650819)

What a great guy...

Intel: "Here's money to do your research."
Sohi: "Thanks!" ... after research ...
Sohi: "Woah! You never paid me for my research!"
Intel: "What...?"

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29650873)

Intel is for homosexuals [goatse.fr] and racists, true niggers use AMD.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29650907)

Intel is for homosexuals [goatse.fr] and racists, true niggas use AMD.

There, I fixed that for yo black ass.

Warf the space nigga (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651215)

Isn't it funny how both the bravest and most manly (Worf) and the wimpiest and most reproductively unsucessful (Geordi) senior officers are both black men?

BTW In the TNG episode "The Naked Now" you can see Geordi act as if he was suffering from Malt Liquor intoxication.

Re:Warf the space nigga (2, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 5 years ago | (#29651801)

There are black klingons?

Re:Warf the space nigga (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 years ago | (#29651993)

Don't be retarded. Worf wasn't a man at all, he was a Klingon.

You also missed the episode where Geordi got hit with a zap from some guy who was about to transition to an energy being, and this imbued him with more self-confidence, and he ended up scoring with some hot chick.

And everyone on the ship was acting like they were suffering from malt liquor intoxication in The Naked Now.

Re:Warf the space nigga (1)

derfy (172944) | about 5 years ago | (#29652633)

You also missed the episode where Geordi got hit with a zap from some guy who was about to transition to an energy being, and this imbued him with more self-confidence, and he ended up scoring with some hot chick.

That was Broccoli that got zapped. The Nth Degree.

Re:Warf the space nigga (1)

derfy (172944) | about 5 years ago | (#29652697)

Oh wait, I know which one you mean. The man that was being hunted by his people because they were afraid of what he was changing into.

My bad.

Re:Warf the space nigga (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 years ago | (#29659879)

Yeah, that's the one. I don't remember the episode title, but it was in the 3rd season I believe.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 5 years ago | (#29650905)

He has no control over it, if he used University facilities to do the research and isn't bound by some other agreement, the patents are controlled by WARF. Complain about A) a system that takes control away from the inventor or B) the way WARF handled this case.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (2, Interesting)

PalmKiller (174161) | about 5 years ago | (#29650997)

He had a gentleman's agreement to work on the chip it seems from the litigation. Once the university caught on, he tucked his tail and screwed Intel over, so much for the Gentleman part, the a-hole should have owned up to the actual verbal deal with Intel in court, so the suit by the university was null and void, and took his walking papers (and/or lawsuit) from the university like a real man.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 5 years ago | (#29651139)

He had a gentleman's agreement to work on the chip it seems from the litigation. Once the university caught on, he tucked his tail and screwed Intel over, so much for the Gentleman part, the a-hole should have owned up to the actual verbal deal with Intel in court, so the suit by the university was null and void, and took his walking papers (and/or lawsuit) from the university like a real man.

The story says the University sought a patent, not him. He can't control what they do, I assume.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (2, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 years ago | (#29651917)

Is his name on the Patent? If so, then he had to expend a lot of work in writing it up, meeting with the patent attorney, etc. It's not like the University just got a patent on his work without him being involved in it. Therefore, he's just as responsible as the University for screwing over their corporate benefactor.

This will probably be the end of UW as a corporate-funded research university, if other corporations are smart. If I was an executive at any tech company, I'd be pulling all funding from this place right away.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 5 years ago | (#29652591)

I don't know about this university, but most places I've worked at made me agree up front (on an actual contract, not just a "gentleman's agreement") to sign over any patent rights on my work, and agree to take reasonable steps to help them obtain and defend such patents. Had he refused to cooperate with the university, he might have eventually found himself out of a job.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29653147)

There was no issue about a gentleman's agreement between Sohi and UW; that was between Sohi and Intel.

Furthermore, UW has very generous rules regarding the IP of its students and faculty. Specifically, the researcher owns the IP and is free to do with it what they will. WARF is an organization that procures and manages patents for those who decide to take that route. Sohi was well within his rights to patent his work, and IMHO his actions were reasonable.

One must realize that Intel gave Sohi $90,000 over the course of ten years (this is a very small amount for a researcher like Sohi), in the course of which several other funding organizations (including UW) gave him significantly more money. Intel realized that they did not have a leg to stand on, legally or ethically, and thus the case was settled.

In light of this, who would actually rather see money from this innovation go to a behemoth corporation than a nonprofit institution of higher learning? Duh...

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

eabrek (880144) | about 5 years ago | (#29657903)

As a former Intel employee, and stock holder... I would rather see Intel keep their money. Especially considering Core 2 is not infringing on this patent.

We don't know why Intel settled. Most likely it was some combination of:

  1. Bankrupting a University is Bad Publicity
  2. Hard to win a jury case
  3. May reveal implementation details (corporate secrets)

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 5 years ago | (#29651219)

So, you're saying that Intel gave him a bunch of money with a "gentleman's agreement" that anything he came up with would belong to them? Doesn't that strike you as the kind of thing you would want a contract for? I kind of doubt that Intel was like "Here's a million dollars, don't worry about signing anything, we trust you."

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 5 years ago | (#29651629)

I kind of doubt that Intel was like "Here's a million dollars, don't worry about signing anything, we trust you."

Funny, it goes on elsewhere [rfidinfo.com.cn] . Partnerships with Universities are a common occurrance: They research new innovations for dirt cheap under the condition that Intel be provided with the results of that research so they can develop into a marketable (and patentable) product. It's not necessarily an exclusive contract, either -- exploratory research often comes without strings attached.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about 5 years ago | (#29651939)

Talk to ANYBODY that is serious about business (like Larry Ellison) and they'll tell you that in cut throat business, there are no gentlemen. The only agreements are written on paper, and signed off by lawyers in the blood of babies. And even those are subject to change if they think the fight is worthwhile monetarily. Big money normally = little ethics.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (4, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | about 5 years ago | (#29652629)

Which is precisely why corporate CEOs - and sundry other people at the top of various food chains - are likely to be the least ethical people you're going to meet. Ethically ambiguous people are thus more capable of making decisions that maximize profit, in true the-end-justifies-the-means fashion.

As a civilization, then, we're hypocrites: we talk a lot about ethics and rights and equality and such, but then THESE are the people we promote to the highest levels of both business and government. Is it any wonder all the talk goes unrewarded and stays largely just talk? Look at how many millions of people were, and are still, convinced that either Bush or Obama are actually ethical.

If we really wanna change the world, we'll have to first change the criteria we're using that allow such ethically unsound people to always wind up in positions making decisions for all the rest of us.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29653151)

What you are talking about is the result of making violence illegal. A significant portion of human beings are hard wired to beat the crap out and/or kill people who threaten their livelihoods. As a result of that, were natural selection allowed to take place, those more crafty members of the species who prey on others would see their numbers dwindle and often times think twice about taking actions that result in suffering for others.

For the record, "we" don't promote those people. Most of the time they promote themselves and are lifted up by others who are enriched by their ascent to the top. Birds of a feather and all that..

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

macraig (621737) | about 5 years ago | (#29653683)

Bill Engvall says they can still get away with that in Texas, at least. I guess that rest of now have to be even more crafty ourselves, in ridding the species of them without getting caught? Sucks to be a dumb assassin or one with ADD.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 5 years ago | (#29658237)

Which is precisely why corporate CEOs - and sundry other people at the top of various food chains - are likely to be the least ethical people you're going to meet. Ethically ambiguous people are thus more capable of making decisions that maximize profit, in true the-end-justifies-the-means fashion.

Yep, I know. Part of what led to this is the "shareholder value" ideology that originated in the 1970s and became common in the 1980s. Here is some links: http://thenextwavefutures.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/the-end-of-shareholder-value/ [wordpress.com] http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2005/oct/02/theobserver.observerbusiness4 [guardian.co.uk] http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~dobbin/cv/articles/2005_PPST_Fligstein.pdf [harvard.edu] http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-28502078_ITM [accessmylibrary.com] http://www.globalchange.com/shareholdervalue.htm [globalchange.com] It is off-topic though.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

macraig (621737) | about 5 years ago | (#29659527)

I do indeed hope it's been just a temporary phenomenon whose end is near!

Can selfless behavior, or at least something like "enlightened self-interest", actually be taught and learned, though? I'm suspicious it might have a genetic predisposition. I guess we'll find out, if all those articles are true. Lord knows we've certainly been breeding evil people during my lifetime, at least.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 5 years ago | (#29667513)

You do realize that it's not "We the People" who promote them into the highest ranks of business, right? It's the board directors, who are just as cutthroat, and probably used to be in those positions. If' the culture exists, they're going to bring in the person who fits it best, not the guy who, in their minds, is a wildcard.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

macraig (621737) | about 5 years ago | (#29668095)

Indirectly we've all allowed this to take place, all of us, We The People. It required a rebellion, and we weren't up to it. The writing was on the wall, but nobody heeded it. Oh, we griped and grumbled, sure enough, labor unions rallied, comedians poked hateful fun, and writers waxed indignant, but still we didn't do what was actually required to put a stop to it.

Just who the hell do you expect to fix it? The very people who were responsible in the first place? What exactly would be their motivation? What, because they're really just good thoughtful people? Yeah, I think that ship sailed and sank.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | about 5 years ago | (#29655989)

While most universities now days are ran as businesses, they ought to go by the solid foundation of ethics and rules they were originally built upon...as should their professors. Obviously they sometimes forgo those morals now days though.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29656307)

Give me a break. Even if you knew something about "morals", you probably wouldn't be able to apply them to this situation, as you clearly have not read the case, and have no idea how research funding at major universities works.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

treeves (963993) | about 5 years ago | (#29661161)

They gave up their moral position when they became actively anti-Christian, contrary to their Christian establishment.

For example,

In 1893, Baedeker's guidebook called Harvard "the oldest, richest, and most famous of American seats of learning."[7] Harvard College was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The college was named for its first benefactor, British-born John Harvard of Charlestown, a young minister who, upon his death in 1638, left his library and half his estate to the new institution. The charter creating the corporation of Harvard College was signed by Massachusetts Governor Thomas Dudley in 1650. The College's original purpose was to train Puritan ministers.[8]

During its early years, the College offered a classic academic course based on the English university model but consistent with the prevailing Puritan philosophy of the first colonists in New England. The College was never affiliated with any particular denomination, but many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Puritan churches throughout New England.[9] An early brochure, published in 1643, justified the College's existence: "To advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministery [sic] to the Churches..."[10] Harvard's early motto was Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae "Truth for Christ and the Church." In a directive to its students, it laid out the purpose of all education: "Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Iesus Christ which is eternall life, Joh. 17. 3. and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning.[11]

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_University [wikipedia.org]
[emphasis mine]

...flame away...

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651187)

more restricted interaction between funding corporations and their recipients along with more stringent funding contracts... too bad that funding wracked governments are now resorting to this sort of extortion as it will only limit their future access to research funding, and rightfully so... I expect that Wisconsin will be having a hard time getting corporate research dollars in the future now, which is a bad thing for them since the Feds are more interested in a welfare state(a luxury) than research(a necessity)...

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651279)

Hah, UW is one of the most well-funded universities in the WORLD! This is a drop in the bucket.

"In 2007, UW had research expenditures of $913 million, making it the third largest in science and engineering and the largest in non-science expenditures in the US."

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29653177)

Intel screws up and doesn't get a good contract so lets...blame the University of Wisconsin? Are you on crack?

Industry continues to wait in line to exploit the top-notch dirt-cheap labor present here. The moral of the story: don't be a dumbass and don't fuck with WARF.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

$random_var (919061) | about 5 years ago | (#29657271)

That's not the issue at all... This was a dispute between WARF and Intel, NOT between the professor and WARF and NOT between the professor and Intel.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

bezenek (958723) | about 5 years ago | (#29658811)

Here is how the system works:

1. The inventor contacts WARF about a possible patentable idea. This might be done to help his/her students, as they get the patent on their resume if they are co-inventors. I believe the patent in question here is 6,658,554, which has one of Dr. Sohi's students as a co-inventor. Note: If you are going to search for Guri Sohi's patents, use his full first name, "Gurindar."

2. WARF decides whether or not to file for a patent.

3. If the patent is infringed, WARF goes for the money. Although, since some patents are in very specialized fields, this might require a quick email from the inventor or some other expert in the field in order to start the investigative process.

-Todd

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

Xtravar (725372) | about 5 years ago | (#29650913)

First of all, it was WARF who sued, not the inventor, I believe.
Second of all, Intel has enough money and lawyers to have prevented this. They were caught with their pants down.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651133)

First of all, it was WARF who sued, not the inventor, I believe.

From the article:

Sohi routinely presented his data to Intel, recommended his students for jobs there and sought recommendations from Intel for awards and government grants. He wrote in a 2000 e-mail uncovered during the litigation that he had a "gentleman's agreement" with Intel in which he would not aggressively seek patents but would keep the company informed if he did.

From you:

Second of all, Intel has enough money and lawyers to have prevented this. They were caught with their pants down.

So, just because they're rich means this is acceptable?

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29651255)

Second of all, Intel has enough money and lawyers to have prevented this. They were caught with their pants down. So, just because they're rich means this is acceptable?

No. It means that Intel should have known better and could have prevented all this to begin with - assuming they didn't ask for their lawyers input.

Geeze.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651211)

However, actions like this reduce the likelihood (to zero, I hear) of Intel giving no-strings-attached money to researchers. Which sucks as an outcome.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

macshit (157376) | about 5 years ago | (#29651867)

However, actions like this reduce the likelihood (to zero, I hear) of Intel giving no-strings-attached money to researchers. Which sucks as an outcome.

It sounds like Intel was arguing that there really were strings, it's just that they were invisible (and in practice, this is pretty much always the case, however subtly they're disguised)...

So in the future, they'll explicitly specify "if there are cool results we get to use them" in writing. That doesn't seem particularly onerous, especially if it's merely stating what was "understood" previously.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (4, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 years ago | (#29651963)

Yes, but it sucks that people have to have so much legalese in every dealing they have with others, because there's absolutely no trust, respect, or decency left. Just from the description of this story, it seems pretty obvious. Uni gets funding from Intel, develops new tech, patents it, Intel uses it, and gets sued. Please explain how this is correct moral behavior. It isn't. It might be legal, but it isn't right. And this means that tech companies are going to be much less trusting of Universities when thinking about handing out big bags of money to fund research, which is something we desperately need more of in this country to keep on top in technology (since we're losing in everything else, namely manufacturing).

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29652675)

First of all, the university got _no_ money from Intel. The money was given to Guri somewhat surreptitiously, specifically so that the university could not channel it to other uses (for example, providing Sohi with an office to work in, and office space for his numerous grad students).

Secondly, the university, as well as several other funding agencies, provided Sohi with significantly more than $90,000 in the same time period. It is not as though Guri owes his career to Intel. On the contrary - $90,000 is a paltry sum for a big shot like Sohi. Hardly enough to keep a single grad student fed on crackers and spaghetti-o's for five years, much less travel expenses.

To walk away from this story thinking that Sohi and UW are somehow ungrateful profiteers is folly. Rather, it is Intel who clearly overstepped here, in thinking that Sohi's most lucrative and significant work could be purchased for such an insignificant price, and then requiring UW to put up legal expenses for a year while they played victim to maintain appearances. The fact that so many suckers actually believe Intel is the victim here indicates that this form of damage control was a prudent investment on their part. If that doesn't upset you, then you're beyond hope.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

forand (530402) | about 5 years ago | (#29654213)

Maybe they should get contracts stating their expectations for giving money? Otherwise they should recognize that they have now given essentially and endowment: the university will benefit over a longer period of time than just spending the money if they patent and license the technology they develop.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (3, Insightful)

macshit (157376) | about 5 years ago | (#29654819)

The point is simple: if you want certain special benefits in return for your money (and Intel clearly did), then you should be above-board and state them. There's nothing morally superior about "implicit" strings.

If they really want to give no-strings-attached funding -- meaning no strings attached, not "strings-attached-but-we-can-dance-around-and-look-selfless-for-marketing-purposes" -- then they're still perfectly free to do so.

I think in general improved transparency is a good thing, and wink-wink-nod-nod relationships with big corporations are not compatible with that. If companies care about certain things like avoiding excess patent licensing fees, they'll just specify those terms in grants; this is no different in effect than the "implicit" terms you seem to advocate, except that it is more transparent, and because of that, less subject to abuse or misinterpretation.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651303)

First of all, it was WARF who sued, not the inventor, I believe.

That's something only a filthy p'tagh would do.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 5 years ago | (#29650955)

From TFA:

Intel had supported Sohi's research with about $90,000 in gifts in the 1990s and argued it was entitled to the intellectual property that resulted from the funding.

So intel "argued it was entitled", but apparently they didn't include a provision that in any written agreement? Certainly would explain the settlement, and AFAIC that also exonerates Sohi from your (unspecified) accusation. Of course, all that assumes TFA can be taken at face value. But we don't seem to be privy to all the terms of any agreement entered into so I think you're just jumping to conclusions here regarding Sohi.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29650979)

From the article:

Sohi routinely presented his data to Intel, recommended his students for jobs there and sought recommendations from Intel for awards and government grants. He wrote in a 2000 e-mail uncovered during the litigation that he had a "gentleman's agreement" with Intel in which he would not aggressively seek patents but would keep the company informed if he did.

A different issue is that the WARF organization was suing. Still, there is a clear biting-the-hand-that-feeds-you going on here. If I were Intel, and of course I am not, I would blacklist the entire university.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (2, Insightful)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | about 5 years ago | (#29651111)

If I worked on something for years, I'd want more than $90,000 before I signed it over.

Just sayin'...

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 years ago | (#29655095)

If I worked on something for years, I'd want more than $90,000 before I signed it over.

Just sayin'...

True, I can just imagine if Intel came and claimed rights on my porn collection.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (5, Informative)

genmax (990012) | about 5 years ago | (#29651043)

Or perhaps,

Intel: The work you do has had an immense impact on the field, and helped us a lot. Thank you, and here's some money so that you keep working on this.
Sohi: Thanks man!
(After research)
Intel: Hey, we own everything you make!

Or even,

WARF: Here's $$$$$$ so that you can set up your lab, hire graduate students, buy equipment. As a condition for the money, we would like to explicitly state that we should own patent rights to your inventions.
Sohi: Sounds good.
Intel: Here's $$ -- consider it a gift.
Sohi: Thanks man. .. sohi invents something ..
WARF: Nice job, we'll patent that now.
Intel: Hey, no fair, we paid some money too, we own the rights.
Judge: (to intel) No you don't!

---

I'm a graduate student, and I can tell you that it is quite common for companies to fund faculty members via gifts --- that come with no strings attached. Why, you ask ? Altruism -- not really. It is often in a company's interest to have a good relationship with a faculty member / university lab. It means that the faculty member is more likely to work at solving problems that the company would like solved. It is often understood that if the problem is solved, the solution may be in the public domain or that they may have to license it from the university --- but that's better than not having a solution at all. The money that the company pays is often peanuts compared to what they'd have to spend to build a similar research environment themselves.

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (1)

eabrek (880144) | about 5 years ago | (#29657825)

Except that it is more like this:

WARF: Hey Intel you owe us 400 quadrillion dollars for Sohi's work on Core 2.
Intel: What? We didn't use anything he talked about.

This came up last time [slashdot.org] .

Re:Hope he never gets funded again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29659751)

As a follow-up to parent --

To give you some perspective, this is how it works. A faculty is typically supported by *multiple* grants. This also includes funding from WARF typically in lieu of a federal grant proposal that a prof is submitting elsewhere. This is so that if the federal agency funding doesn't work out (or you don't get lucky the first time), you still have money to continue working on the ideas for the project, and submit a stronger proposal the next time around. Now, Intel (or other companies) will likely be involved with a faculty as collaborators on projects or grants. When the faculty contributes to research at Intel he can be compensated either as a consultant, salary coverage, or in the form of these "gift" funds. This could range from $5000 to about $100000. It is used for partially supporting a grad student (think of a collaboration with Intel on a paper, the faculty cannot a month off to write tons of code) or for some equipment purchase. The reason these gifts are setup in this way is precisely to preclude the possibility of the company laying claim over whatever the prof develops in that period. Is $20000 good to cover even one grad student for a year? No. So a gift fund is exactly that -- a gift. In return, a professor agrees to continue working on joint projects with the company involved. Plus it always helps to have a big name on your paper when sending it out for publication.

The university also contributed (1)

l2718 (514756) | about 5 years ago | (#29651511)

You seem to think that Intel was the only party who paid for the research. Who do you think paid to build the building? Who pays for the electricity costs? Who pays most fo the guy's salary?

Intel gave this guy some research money. They could (and should) have insisted to at least partial rights to the fruits of the research. But if they didn't then the loss is theirs.

Re:The university also contributed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29652813)

I am not suggesting that Intel deserves exclusive rights, but by the simple virtue of paying for the research, they deserve immunity from this.

Uh oh. (1)

tacarat (696339) | about 5 years ago | (#29650897)

So does this mean that paying kickbacks and giving "gift" bribes doesn't entitle you to any legal rights?

Re:Uh oh. (1)

chriscappuccio (80696) | about 5 years ago | (#29651741)

Clearly it does, or else the judge would have been penalizing Intel for willful damages.

Oh crap oh crap oh crap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29650925)

Hide the beer and cheese to stomach injector we developed with WARF funds! I need this patent, it's going to revolutionize how sconnies get fat!

Somebody got greedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651047)

I bet WARF is suing because of its inability to living within its means, and is looking for additional revenue streams to pay the inflated salaries of its administrators and lawyers (who are nothing more than blood sucking parasites.)

Was this a Tax Dodge - or Graft? (0, Offtopic)

turtleshadow (180842) | about 5 years ago | (#29651083)

Was this a huge tax dodge?
"Intel had supported Sohi's research with about $90,000 in gifts in the 1990s and argued it was entitled to the intellectual property that resulted from the funding."

So he got at least $90k in unreported income in form of gifts to keep his research going which in turn benefitted Intel?

This appears like a gift/graft which by-passed the administration. Then it's basically a way of scamming income without having to pay taxes as I think you don't have to pay taxes on a gift if its below a certain threshold?

Why isn't anyone picking up on the fact Sohi was possibly working for them illegally? Did the H1B's run out? Why all the subterfuge to hid the payments for work rendered to Intel?

Frankly this is bad academic practice. Intel may try pressuring the next guy to do the same or may be held up in IP court by the next guy due to poor business/academic relations & accounting practices.

"He wrote in a 2000 e-mail uncovered during the litigation that he had a "gentleman's agreement" with Intel in which he would not aggressively seek patents but would keep the company informed if he did." -- Im sure the University's Counsel liked to hear that.

He may be a good scientist but his business ethics - yes the do exist - seem shaky.
Wouldn't we all like to get 90k under the table on a gentlemen's agreement from Intel

Re:Was this a Tax Dodge - or Graft? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 years ago | (#29651475)

...depends on where the dough went. If Intel gave/donated/whatever the gifts to the project (and not him), then what's to report?

It also depends on what the gifts actually were. Cash is highly fungible, but a shiny new O-scope capable of analyzing a chip (some of the HP-built models can run upwards of $250,000 USD or more, not counting the periodic calibration/maintenance fees) isn't exactly something you're gonna see flogged on eBay for ready cash.

/P

Re:Was this a Tax Dodge - or Graft? (4, Insightful)

1729 (581437) | about 5 years ago | (#29651545)

Why isn't anyone picking up on the fact Sohi was possibly working for them illegally? Did the H1B's run out?

You've got to be kidding me. When I was a grad student at Wisconsin, Prof. Sohi was the CS department chair. Don't assume that someone is an "H1B" just because they have a foreign-sounding name.

Re:Was this a Tax Dodge - or Graft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651977)

He wasn't saying he was an H1B he was inquiring why they were paying him 'under the table' rather than in a more official grant style manner.

Re:Was this a Tax Dodge - or Graft? (2, Informative)

stiggle (649614) | about 5 years ago | (#29654927)

It wasn't illegal - it was just bypassing the university administration so they didn't syphon off a percentage of the money. Intel wanted their 'gifts' to go 100% to Sohi.

Settlement Terms... (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 5 years ago | (#29651201)

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Gets to be in the next Intel "Rock Star" TV commercial instead of that "co-inventor of the USB" poser, Ajay Bhatt [youtube.com] . :-)

Warf to Commander Crabb (1)

hellop2 (1271166) | about 5 years ago | (#29651237)

Assimilate this!

Don't be greedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651371)

You have two cores. One for you, and one for me. Explains the whole thing, including the settlement. Let this be the last comment on this story.

Huh? (1)

pdxp (1213906) | about 5 years ago | (#29651509)

I didn't know Klingons had processor patents?!

It's usually the other way around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651681)

It is usually the other way around. The little guy gets screwed by the "handshake" agreement.

A company as big as Intel should have known better. Sack the contracts department.

Intel aside, Guri Sohi is really cool (1)

Theovon (109752) | about 5 years ago | (#29652133)

I don't know anything about this Intel case. But I met Dr. Sohi at ISCA 2009, and he's definitely a cool guy and interesting to talk to. The guy really knows his stuff and is highly respected by everyone else in the field.

Funny... (1)

chill (34294) | about 5 years ago | (#29652337)

It is funny how things settled out quickly once WARF threatened to whip out the bat'leth and get all mupwI' yI'uchtaH on their ass!

Re:Funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29667723)

Came for the Bat'leth reference. Was not disappointed.

Intel must be *really* scary (1)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | about 5 years ago | (#29652643)

i'd pee my pants if i had to go up against the son of Moag and the House of Martok!

Patent was on memory disambiguation (3, Interesting)

DrDitto (962751) | about 5 years ago | (#29653495)

If anyone cares, the patent deals with memory disambiguation. The basic jist is that it is hard to execute *memory* instructions out-of-order when previous the address computation of previous instructions has not completed (otherwise what would happen if the processor completes a load instruction, out-of-order, for a prior store instruction that did not yet complete due to a dependence on address computation?). Sohi's patent figured out a way to predict this and to allow the Core2 to get much better out-of-order execution.

Sohi is *highly* respected in the field of computer architecture. In fact Wisconsin is considered one of the best computer architecture schools in the world.

Worf? NG? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 years ago | (#29653751)

And Worf seemed like such an honest guy on TV. Whadda shame.

How WARF Works. (4, Informative)

bezenek (958723) | about 5 years ago | (#29654183)

I was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin for 6 years, during which I was able to work with Guri Sohi as his teaching assistant, in addition to having many stimulating technical discussions.

WARF (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, warf.org) helps faculty and students patent their ideas and protect the patents. Remember, a patent is only as good as the lawyers who are willing to go to court to defend it--as this WARF v. Intel situation has shown.

WARF was established in 1925, and helped the University of Wisconsin become one of the first academic institutions to take advantage of the patent system. The patent for including vitamin D in milk was the first big money winner for WARF and the university.

The system is driven by the inventor. If a faculty member or student has an idea they want to patent, WARF covers the expenses, provides help with prior-art, etc. efforts, and pledges to defend the patent. For this, WARF gets 80% of the patent revenues, which it puts back into research funding for the university. The inventor(s) receive 20% of the revenues. From what I have heard, this is a larger percentage than that given to the inventor at many other institutions.

-Todd

Re:How WARF Works. (1)

Peter La Casse (3992) | about 5 years ago | (#29656415)

The WARF has brought lots of money to the UW, but they are on the wrong side of patent reform. They put the lie to the UW's supposed liberal ideals, in the name of money. Whenever someone from the UW calls me asking for a donation we have a nice long conversation about it.

Did anyone else imagine Warf, ... (1, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29654713)

...the love child of Worf [offlineadventures.com] * and Barf [zardoz-technomage.es] arguing with Gordon Moore [wikipedia.org] in a court room?
___
* Warning: Strong heart required. Not advised for people without eye bleach at hand.

I say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29654793)

Doesn't his head look like a fanny?

Re:I say... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 years ago | (#29655129)

You're the cunt, racist

Re:I say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29658773)

You're the cunt, racist

Humorous use of a misogynist favorite aside, what is "racist" about pointing and laughing at stupid headgear? We're in a more enlightened era, where religion is rightly open to criticism. Stupid headgear is stupid headgear, some mythology reason for it notwithstanding. Trying to shroud that behind race is going full retard.

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