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Transmeta Sues Intel for Patent Infringement

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the easy-advertising dept.

161

Cr0w T. Trollbot writes "Today Transmeta filed suit against Intel for patent infringement. From the article: 'The suit [...] alleges that Intel infringed upon ten of Transmeta's patents. The patents cover computer architecture and power efficiency technologies.' Transmeta offered a low-power x86 processor until last year which used Transmeta's vaunted 'code morphing' software."

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Go figure (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401575)

When the chips are down, ( no pun intended ) and your business model is going up in a fireball.. sue someone!

LOL PATENTS RULE LOL (1)

LOL PATENTS RULE LOL (903720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401705)

BRING ON THE LOLSUITS!

Re:Go figure - too clever (4, Interesting)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401897)

It's too clever a saying for me to have been the first to have thought of it, so I probably just heard it before.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, sue.

Re:Go figure - too clever (1)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402163)

I like that version of the saying better than the one I heard before.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.

Re:Go figure - too clever (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402605)

You're right, that's the one I've heard before. Unless I've also heard the "sue" version before... But I know I've heard the teach joke. It some respects it's true for all teachers, but it doesn't mean they couldn't ever "do" previous to their teaching career.

Re:Go figure - too clever (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16402795)

I believe that was originally by Mark Twain.

Re:Go figure - too clever (4, Informative)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403917)

No, George Bernard Shaw.

And it's a parody of Aristotle: "Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach."

Re:Go figure - too clever (1)

Agent Green (231202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403419)

You forgot one at the end ... don't remember where I got it. Maybe a Dilbert book somewhere along the line.

Anyway, here's the whole thing:

Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, manage.

Re:Go figure - too clever (3, Interesting)

acvh (120205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403531)

Nope.

Woody Allen.

Those who can, do.
Those who can't, teach.
Those who can't teach, teach gym.

Re:Go figure - too clever (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403801)

Those who can't even teach gym, administrate.

Re:Go figure - too clever (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403961)

Yeah, that saying is just a little bit older [wikiquote.org] than Woody Allen, and while that particular version may be attributable to him, I highly doubt he was the first to add a third line [google.com] .

I've got nothing against being snide, just make sure you know what you're talking about first.

Re:Go figure (1)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402067)

Yep, they are trying to SCOop up what's left of their investors capital before they go bankrupt.

Re:Go figure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16402233)

New clip on Onion site "Linus testifing against Intel"
New film about Transmeta "Gone with the silicon"
New topic on Groklaw "Transmeta as new SCO"
New action figure at Wall-Mart "Linus Transmeta Torvalds" (with hat made from part of the actual wafer of one of defunct transmeta chip)

Re:Go figure (1)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402461)

Yeah but ... Intel? \

I actually dearly wish that they win an injunction and Intel won't sell any processors. For a couple months. Halting what amounts to the majority of the global computational hardware infrastructure. "Sorry, we can't fix your computer because of that obscure IT-IP company". They should have the reserves to survive that -- but what do you think is going to happen to Transmeta?

Re:Go figure (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403237)

Obviously Intel would settle, like they did with AMD and Centaur.

Re:Go figure (1)

Money for Nothin' (754763) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403899)

Or, to update an old saying for 21st century corporate America:

"If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em."

Re:Go figure (1)

!eopard (981784) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404281)

I'd say that Transmeta just wants to get cross-licensing happening with Intel, so that they aren't counter-sued. That's what seems to happen now, Company A sues Company B for infringing patent, Company B counter-sues. Both companies end up cross-licensing the respective technologies.

They still exist? (3, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401581)

I thought that they filed bankruptcy or something.

Re:They still exist? (2, Interesting)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401791)

It's kind of ironic that the company vaunted and praised so vigorously for employing Linus now appears to have become a 'Patent portfolio operation.'

You said it (3, Insightful)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402145)

From the article:

"Last year, Transmeta laid off 67 employees in a restructuring plan aimed to focus more heavily on IP and the phase out its less profitable processors." (emphasis added)

Patent portfolio operation?!? Whatever do you mean?? ;-)

Re:You said it (5, Informative)

cerelib (903469) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403337)

Transmeta wanted to do something new. They did serious research to develop a different kind of product, but they were never able to find enough business. The market was not ready for what they were selling and they did not have the power to make it into something amazing. What they are left with is patents on research that they funded. Just because they do not have the ability to compete in the market right now does not mean they should have to give up all of their work. If you invented something, but didn't have the capital or even motivation to sell it, would you be okay with everyone else being able to make money from your invention? I have not investigated Transmeta's claims, but low-power chips were their whole business and that seems to be what Intel is killing for now. This leads me to believe that they might actually have a case. On the surface, this seems like a completely appropriate use of the patent system.

I call bullshit! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16404401)

They bought the HP research team that did the Dynamo project. They hired them all. ...still, I'm not surprised to see them suing Intel, as Intel's Netburst architecture has plenty of overlap with the principles of Dynamo and Crusoe.

Re:You said it (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404683)

Ahem, the power savings tech which Intel is now showing and purporting to come from unauthorised "Intel Israel skunkworks" rings a bit hollow to me. You can get a feature or two out of skunkworks, but not an entire CPU that breaks away from every single Intel x86 design tradition. In addition to that if the design center in Israel was so successfull why the f*** is intel pumping new money into its Indian disaster.

One portion of the organisation delivers the most amazing CPU Intel has done since the 8086 while the other f*** up its projects, lies about achievements, fakes expenses and engages in blanket expenses fraud. So the portion which does the latter gets investment, while the portion which has done actual achievement gets dick.

Does not compute. Even by Dilbert standards.

Re:They still exist? (1)

spagetti_code (773137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402385)


I thought that they filed bankruptcy or something.

Even worse... FTA:


Last year, Transmeta laid off 67 employees in a restructuring plan aimed to focus more heavily on IP and the phase out its less profitable processors.


I, for one, welcome our new IP troll overlords.

Re:They still exist? (1)

newt0311 (973957) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403107)

OH GOD. The idiots at transmetta are proving themselves to be the idiots I thought them to be. Back when they came out with the efficon processors, they had a enormous oppotunity and they BLEW IT. They could have realized that their VLIW processor design and code morphing software was a killer for high performance linux clusters (anybody thinking one instruction no lag process scheduler through insane code optimizations, inbuilt encryption, inbuilt network stack? the possibilities are endless). Instead they missed the opportunity to expand their amazing tech go burried in a pile of incompetency. They had the same performance as a 1ghz pentium 4 with 3 watts power usage. With a VLIW processor, all they would have to do was double the number of instruction pipelines and mod the codemorph software a little. oh, not enough, well, do it again... and again... and again. idiots.

Re:They still exist? (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404623)

Did you say 3 watts? Could we put that in a notebook PC?

Sigh... (4, Interesting)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401591)

Is anyone else getting a little sick of these patent infringment stories? Its now common knowledge that you can't build anything in the United States without some IP leech suing you, so is this really even a big deal anymore? We all know the eventual result of this: either more products will be invented in other countries or the only things that will be made in the U.S. anymore will be by companies that have a large legal budget, which I'm sure Intel does. Stories like this will become small insignificant news.

Re:Sigh... (1)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402259)

That is shockingly cynical.

It is also right on the money.

Re:Sigh... (1)

Purdah (587096) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403771)

This is news due to someone who has made a name for himself (Linux Torvalds) on OSS (as in GNU free not beer) having (or is it had, I cant remember if he has quit) an association with a company that is now follwoing the tactics of many other companies that are completely opposed to freedoms in IP (mainly **AA types, but others such as SCO .... the list seems to be growing daily as this artive points out).

Re:Sigh... (1)

monteneg (901462) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404149)

more products will be invented in other countries

The US is by far the largest market for almost everything, and if you want to sell here then you're going to have to follow our (ridiculous) patent laws. Hence there's little reason for our patent laws to push businesses overseas, unless said companies do not intend to sell in the US. In fact, I have the impression that juries hate "evil foreign companies" even more than they hate "evil American companies", so non-US companies might be hit even harder than American ones.

Re:Sigh... (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404295)

Is anyone else getting a little sick of these patent infringment stories? Its now common knowledge that you can't build anything in the United States without some IP leech suing you, so is this really even a big deal anymore?

Yes, it seems like patent-infringement lawsuits are all the rage right now, and the patent trolls are abusing the system. However, it will be interesting to see how this one shakes out. The "little guy" like Transmeta (relatively speaking) needs the protection that patents afford. I won't claim to understand all the specifics of this fight, but maybe they wouldn't have to lay-off most of their staff and grasp at straws if Intel hadn't stolen their technology? Obviously Intel would have done fine without it, but this seems like a case of a smaller, niche-market company getting completely steamrolled.

If Transmeta was already struggling (they were), surely Intel could have bought license to their technology for a very reasonable and affordable price and avoided this whole situation. I'm not particularly a fan of any chip maker, I've never owned Transmeta products or stock, and I've been happy with some of the Intel products I've used; I just want something cheap that works. The point is that our current laws protect innovators, and if Intel did in fact steal technology, they should be punished, and whether our laws need to be revised is another topic.

Re:Sigh... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404535)

Guess you never checked their patent portfolio. Quite a bit of their shit comes from before the USPTO got seriously broken. They may actually have a legitmiate case, since some of their still-patent-granted technology is just now coming into play in the market through other US competitors. Unless Intel bought/licensed this stuff, they've got a pretty legitimate case. IINAPL, as a disclaimer.

Hail Mary Play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16401601)

And now Intel will countersue, claiming that TransMeta infringes on $SOME_LARGE_NUMBER of Intel patents. That's how things work in the IP patent world. And Intel will win, if not in the courts, then because it has probably 1000 times the money available to prosecute the case.


This is a last ditch effort by TransMeta. They've been losing money for many fiscal quarters now and I guess SCO-like tactics are all that's left.

Re:Hail Mary Play (2, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402419)

And Intel will win, if not in the courts, then because it has probably 1000 times the money available to prosecute the case.

See the NTP/RIM case -- Transmeta can get a sympathetic judge to grant an injunction while they intentionally drag out the case, possibly forcing the prospect of Intel having to stop all processor sales until the case is settled. Intel will of course cave and just buy the "patents" to eliminate this business risk.

And that is why it's pretty much the opposite of your contention in some cases -- it isn't how much you have to use to fight, but how much you have to lose even if you might eventually win.

Re:Hail Mary Play (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404387)

See the NTP/RIM case -- Transmeta can get a sympathetic judge to grant an injunction while they intentionally drag out the case, possibly forcing the prospect of Intel having to stop all processor sales until the case is settled. Intel will of course cave and just buy the "patents" to eliminate this business risk.


I'm sure in the process Intel will countersue due to the patents in Transmeta's products. In the end it may turn into a cross lisence deal.

Nothing to see here, move along... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16401631)

Transmeta has alleged this before, as have other companies. It's nearly unavoidable in the technology business that your invention will have something in common with theirs. It all comes down to a lot highly paid patent lawyers and engineers showing diagrams in court and vouching for when they designed what, if it even makes it into court.

Most likely outcome: settlement involving a small amount of money and a cross-licensing agreement. No judge in their right mind would grant an injunction against shipping the majority of the world's processors, no matter what the infringement.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along... (2, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401679)

to be fair.. why don't they go after AMD too.. why not . more money right?

the only thing i can think is that if i remember right.. Intel owns the ARM .. which does have alot in comon when Transmeta.. but something else makes me think they they had something todo with that..

or i am wrong.. not sure

Re:Nothing to see here, move along... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16401973)

Intel got StrongARM from Digital a long time ago, and then developed the XScale, and then sold it off earlier this year to Marvell.

However ARM are the primary company, and they're an independent company based in Cambridge, UK, and this is the company that every one of the dozens of ARM licensees buys ARM core designs off of.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along... (4, Informative)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402423)

They didn't go after (& won't go after) AMD because they've had a very long standing cross-patent agreement with them going back to the original transmeta product launch...

Doesn't make much sense to go after a business partner...

Re:Nothing to see here, move along... (1)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402367)

...and remember: all you have to do is find one expert who testifies that the idea sure would have been obvious to him at the time. Or find one mention of a sufficiently similar idea in the proceedings of some sufficiently obscure conference in Poland. 99% of patents can be busted if you throw enough money at it, and many large companies would rather spend $100k on busting your patent than $10k on on licensing it...

Re:Nothing to see here, move along... (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402961)

"No judge in their right mind would grant an injunction against shipping the majority of the world's processors, no matter what the infringement."

So Intel should be immune from lawsuits and not held to legal standards because it is a major supplier? Sounds like a load of crap to me. If an injunction is the precedent for infraction x committed by companies A and B, then company C should suffer the same fate, even if it's 25 times the size of A and B, when it commits infraction x. Companies that are essential to societal infrastructure should be granted due consideration, but they should not be exempt from final punishment simply because they're big and important. An injunction here would, in all likelihood, simply apply to pending products, not to currently shipping products--for those, there would likely be an amount paid in damages per unit sold, since you can't very well recall computers.

This all assumes the suit goes badly for Intel. In this case, that outcome is unlikely.

I used to think they were cool... (5, Interesting)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401637)

...but now, they just seem like patent trolls.


FTA: "The complaint charges that Intel has infringed and is infringing Transmeta's patents by making and selling a variety of microprocessor products, including at least Intel's Pentium III, Pentium 4, Pentium M, Core and Core 2 product lines."

They sure are going back a long ways...

FTA: "Last year, Transmeta laid off 67 employees in a restructuring plan aimed to focus more heavily on IP and the phase out its less profitable processors."

So they went out of the business of actually making anything (presumably because their products were not competitive in the market place), so NOW they turn to their IP to make any money. I really don't know if they've got a valid case or not, but they certainly seem to be trolling.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1, Interesting)

imboboage0 (876812) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401709)

Pentium III? IANAL, but isn't this defined as failing to defend your patent in the first place?

Re:I used to think they were cool... (4, Informative)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401761)

Trademarks fade if you do not agressively pursue violators (like how you search google for something, not "google for something").

Patents last the term and do not fade in that way. They are full effect for 20 years.

Copyrights fade 70+ years after you die (and getting longer...).

Re:I used to think they were cool... (2, Informative)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401967)

Damages change with the circumstances. If you can't prove they knowingly violated your patents sometimes all you can win is an injuction and court costs.

Usually for smaller companies patent issues never even get into courts, e.g.

IP company: Stop using our IP
Victim: Okies.

Tom

Re:I used to think they were cool... (2, Informative)

Christian Smith (3497) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402133)


Damages change with the circumstances. If you can't prove they knowingly violated your patents sometimes all you can win is an injuction and court costs.


An injuction, which would stop Intel selling their current processors. They would also have to negotiate a license for the past processors that violate the patent, which would result in considerable back pay.

As Intel would never consider stopping selling their processors, they are most likely to license the patent from Transmeta, which is much $$ for the volumes Intel shift.

The wilful aspect of infringing patents only affects the ability to award punitive damages. No wilful infringement, no punitive damages, but the license fee will still be there.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402171)

Oh yeah, definitely for the license bit.

Bah, patents give Morbo gas.

Tom

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402161)

I think in this case they are praying that it does not go to trial, they are looking at something deeply embedded in the CPUs (my assumption based on going back to PIII, and inclusive of P4 and PM, all different). They are simply hoping Intel will open the checkbook and ask: How Much?

My money is on Intel on this one. I bet they can show Prior Art*, even if not patented, which would basically guarentee them the ability to continue using the IP witout royalty.
-nB

* Or they will be able to show a logical and "obvious" progression in design, end result remains.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

Free_Meson (706323) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403987)

Damages change with the circumstances. If you can't prove they knowingly violated your patents sometimes all you can win is an injuction and court costs.

Knowledge is an element in whether or not the infringement was willful. If a court finds an infringement willful, damages can be trebled. Otherwise, knowledge that a competitor has a patent over a technology is irrelevant (though independent invention is useful if you want to argue obviousness). It's your responsibility as a business to avoid infringing upon the technology of others because, in theory, the patent serves both to communicate new, useful, and nonobvious technologies and to clearly mark the boundaries of the claimed invention. Theory and practice have diverged significantly in this aspect of patent law.

If Transmeta wins a case like this, it can be awarded actual damages. If Transmeta can attribute the failure of its business to Intel infringing on their patents and undercutting their prices, this could be substantial. Alternatively, Transmeta could ask for a reasonable royalty on past sales. These damages are in addition to a permanent injunction against infringement for the life of the patent. (Damages to make whole for past infringement, injunction to prevent future infringement).

Re:I used to think they were cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16402465)

like how you search google for something, not "google for something" is there anyone who uses google as a verb but not as there search engine? sounds sorta retarded

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403049)

Patents last the term and do not fade in that way. They are full effect for 20 years.

Only if you pay the maintenance fees. I don't have the number at hand but something like 60% of all patents expire after 6 years, when the first maintenance fees are due. If it's not close to 60%, it's still a surprisingly large portion.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403143)

Eh it's poor taste to reply to yourself, but I did a teensy bit more research. It's actually 3.5 years till the first maintenance fees, and I can't find the statistic of what portion expires at the first fee date. Managing the fees of issued patents isn't my bread and butter.

This is why the term "IP" is bad.... (1)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404539)

...., it leads to far to much confusion between copyright, trademarks and patents. Which are only similar in that they are designed to protect and grant rights over, intangible ideas. Personally I think that this confusion is the very reason businesses use the term "Intellectual Property" so much. Im sure they would love to be able to copyright things which are currently under the patent system (this is why software patents are bad, as software is already copyrighted), and enjoy that near century of government mandated monopoly.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401785)

>Pentium III? IANAL, but isn't this defined as failing to defend your patent in the first place?

Patents, unlike trademarks, do not go stale if you do not defend them. Hence the term "submarine patent."

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401713)

Just because a business is going out, doesn't mean they lose patent protection.

If you invent something and can't market it, but someone else does so, you have grounds for suit.

It's not like they just filed patent hoping someone else would build it, which is a clear abuse of the patent intent.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402091)

Focussing on IP is not necessarily a bad thing for a semiconductor company. ARM did it in the '90s. Building fabs is expensive. There is a huge market for cores that can be modified slightly and then fab'd as ASICs. A lot of mobile 'phones have an ARM9 core, for example. This is a design licensed from ARM, modified by someone else (e.g. TI, who add DSPs and some other things to the die) and then fab'd. It's cheaper to buy a general-purpose core from ARM than to design your own, especially since you can then guarantee it is ARM-compatible (and hence has compilers available for it).

I don't know how long this business model will survive things like OpenCores - it's even cheaper to download the HDL for a chip for free than buy it - but they may well be successful for a while.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403285)

There's a big different IMO between voluntary IP licensing and patent trolling. Although at least Transmeta isn't threatening any graduate students.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404395)

"Focusing on IP" has nothing to do with being a fabless chip manufacturer. Transmeta never had a fab line they owned in the first place. ARM, for example, produces a fine line of embedded procesor products, but owns no fabrication facilities. Most chip makers are actually fabless, because so few companies have the massive capital and/or economies of scale required to build and maintain modern fabrication facilities. Everyone else just rents facility time from companies with fabs.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (2, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402099)

How would you feel if you invented a high-efficiency engine design, failed to market it to any of the major auto-makers and as you were going bankrupt, Ford started producing something very similar and selling it without giving you credit?

This has happened many times in history and the 'Ford's in those cases have had to either pay up to the inventor or had really good lawyers.

That's what patents are for. Why don't you go file a few of your own instead of being pissed for no reason?

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

Spit (23158) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402267)

How would you feel if you invented a high-efficiency engine design, failed to market it to any of the major auto-makers and as you were going bankrupt, Ford started producing something very similar and selling it without giving you credit?

Amen to that. Transmeta's products were niche low-power devices at a time when CPUs were using increasingly large amounts of power, and they were squeezed out just when they were starting to gain a foothold by Intel's low-power products. Now that Apple is onboard, Intel owns the low-power market.

Even though I don't support "IP companies", Transmeta has a right to be sore if their patents were infringed. Intel's chips are good, but the Crusoe offered a realistic avenue to eventually escape the x86 API.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402881)

This is true in some cases, but look a little deeper into THIS case. Transmeta is sueing based even on very old Intel technology. It is difficult to see how they could prove that Intel stole thier IP. I'm not really pissed for no reason, I used to own a Crusoe based device, and your ridiculous rhetorical question does not foster intellectual discourse here ("Why don't you go file a few of your own instead of being pissed for no reason?").

They also could have a hard time with the timing (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402117)

While Transmeta did form in 1997, it wasn't until 1999 (when the P3 was already a reality) that they said anything at all and it wasn't until 2000 that they announced anything.

To me it just looks like pure greed, same as BeOS and MS. Come up with an idea, fail to think idea all the way through, fail at the market, blame someone else, sue them.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403565)


It's the new business plan; use your employees to build up your IP portfolio, toss them and then make money from the IP.

Re:I used to think they were cool... (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404487)

New? There have been companies who were exclusively in the business of research for a long time.

now just another sleezy IP company eh (3, Insightful)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401669)

"including at least Intel's Pentium III, Pentium 4, Pentium M, Core and Core 2 product lines."

So, when was Pentium 3?

They waited until they were no longer in the market to sue so they cant be counter sued as effectively. Surely they must have done something they could be sued for, go get them anyway. This just smells funny. If your IP is so great why couldn't they make salable product out of it?

I think these IP lawsuits work like games...the one crying cheater loudest is probably the guilty one ;)

Re:now just another sleezy IP company eh (1)

riff420 (810435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401753)

Not to mention, holding out as long as they did gives them more to sue over. Bunch of fuckers, I say. There should be a statute of limitations on this shit. If you noticed this when Pentium III was modern, if you didn't open your stupid mouths by the time P4's were available, then the only fucking over you are doing should be to yourself. I realize businesses exist to make money, generally speaking, but there's gotta be a judge somewhere that will let me punch one of these dumbasses in the mouth.

Re:now just another sleezy IP company eh (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401939)

This is why business logic patents either shouldn't last nearly as long, especially technological patents, or (preferably) shouldn't exist at all. I don't remember Transmeta doing anything to advance the useful arts and sciences using these technologies, yet Intel has done so and made quite a bit of money in the meantime.

Competition drives technology forward.
Patents effectively outlaw competition.
Therefore, patents kill the need for the company holding the patent to advance their own technology any further.

The only reason these sorts of patents still exist are because some very powerful corporations can effectively stunt the market using them; by default nobody can compete on the same playing field since to do so they would have to have licenses to use the technologies in question, and companies like Intel and IBM own literally thousands of patents on just about everything. So they license their patent libraries among themselves, forming a sort of corporate clique in which outsiders are persona non grata.

Maybe once enough of these patents bite companies like Intel in the ass, things will change. Unfortunately I think it'll take a while for that to happen.

Re:now just another sleezy IP company eh (4, Interesting)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402083)

Then surely you don't remember very well. Before AMD and now Intel started pushing low-power CPUs, Transmeta was there with the concept. Transmeta was at the forefront of Intel-compatible low-power CPUs with dynamic power profiles dependant on usage.

It was well vaunted at their launch that a laptop running a DVD wouldn't last as long on battery as if it were doing word processing.

The fact they didn't catch on isn't relevant to what they contributed to the industry itself.

Re:now just another sleezy IP company eh (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402923)

And if Intel and AMD did not also create low-power CPUs and Transmeta indeed had a fully enforced monopoly on their patented technology, what reason would they have to innovate at all during the lifetime of their patents?

The only reason this lawsuit exists is because Transmeta sees these flawed patent laws as an easy way to make a quick buck.

Re:now just another sleezy IP company eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16402003)

So, when was Pentium 3?

2001. Transmeta are trolls. No wonder Linus left.

Re:now just another sleezy IP company eh (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402127)

``If your IP is so great why couldn't they make salable product out of it?''

Maybe it has something to do with fear of wet feet (Transmeta? Never heard of. I'll stick with Intel)? Maybe Intel and AMD had contracts with computer manufacturers that prevented these manufacturers from incorporating Transmeta CPUs? Or maybe people simply didn't care for the product.

None of these imply that their IP wasn't good, though.

Re:now just another sleezy IP company eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16402697)

If your IP is so great why couldn't they make salable product out of it?

betamax was technically superior to vhs in every way yet look which one took off. technology and IP has absolutely nothing to do with what product sells.

intel routinely spends more on its marketing budget in a year than transmeta has ever spent in total in cash in a year. guess whos gonna sell more?

Re:now just another sleezy IP company eh (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403227)

So, when was Pentium 3?

The first Pentium 3 was released to market in 1999.

However, the Pentium 3 was little more than a warmed over Pentium 2. The Pentium 2 first hit in 1997.

However, the Pentium 2 was little more than a warmed over Pentium Pro. The Pentium Pro was first available in 1995.

the davinci code (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401719)

Transmeta offered a low-power x86 processor until last year which used Transmeta's vaunted 'code morphing' software.

Quick, someone use this "code morphing" software on the mona lisa so we can find the Holy Grail!

anyone think the case might actually have merit? (1, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401745)


It seems like everyone so far is poo-pooing the lawsuit.

Has anyone considered that it might actually be possible that Transmeta really does have valid patents, and Intel really might be infringing them?

Re:anyone think the case might actually have merit (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401787)

it is posiable but.. if they are refrencing the P3 which was out along time ago.. and well not any more.. then they didn't bother to protect their patent.. now if it is a diffrent set for the Core cpu's then fine but don't bring up stuff that they didn't bother with.

Re:anyone think the case might actually have merit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16401815)

Has anyone considered that it might actually be possible that Transmeta really does have valid patents, and Intel really might be infringing them?

Have you considered that it might actually be your undying admiration for Linus that is clouding your judgment and preventing you from seeing yet another abuse of the courts?

Re:anyone think the case might actually have merit (2, Interesting)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401901)

Transmeta has a rather extensive patent portfolio, with many new ones granted this year.

In addition, they've got a fair number of engineers working at both Sony and Microsoft, and an Efficeon CPU (with AMD branding) is the only certified processor for the FlexGo program.

The history is that Transmeta has brought out some innovative low-power CPUs, but never seemed to gain any market traction at all.

Yes, I think this case might just well have real merit.

Re:anyone think the case might actually have merit (2, Informative)

clem.dickey (102292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402153)

> Transmeta has a rather extensive patent portfolio, with many new ones granted this year.

Transmeta had several patents issued in 2006, but I don't see any *filed* this year.

I see four filed in 2005, of which one has been issued.

Re:anyone think the case might actually have merit (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402081)

Has anyone considered that it might actually be possible that Transmeta really does have valid patents, and Intel really might be infringing them?

Oh, come on. Next you'll be suggesting that Intel's patent violations might have had something to do with Transmeta's financial problems, as if patents were actually supposed to protect the little guy from having his inventions stolen by better funded competitors. You obviously need to be reminded of proper Slashdot grouptink. Remember: all patents are evil, and only patent trolls try to enforce them.

Re:anyone think the case might actually have merit (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403417)

Oh, come on. Next you'll be suggesting that Intel's patent violations might have had something to do with Transmeta's financial problems, as if patents were actually supposed to protect the little guy from having his inventions stolen by better funded competitors.

It's very important to remember that "patent infringement" and "theft of ideas" (even ignoring the abuse of the word 'theft') are *NOT* synonymous because of the patent systems ridiculous assumption that two entities cannot come up with the same idea independently.

Re:anyone think the case might actually have merit (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402141)

Other people have claimed that the P3 is old and so they must have been using a submarine patent strategy, but it seems equally likely that, now they are focussing more on developing specific technologies for licensing than full CPU designs, they had a meeting with Intel that went something like this:


Transmeta: Hey, want to license this power management technology?
Intel: Maybe, how does it work?
TM: Like this.
Intel: Oh, we've already got something like that...
TM: Umm... but we patented it ages ago.
Intel: Fine. Sue us.

Without knowing the specifics of the patent, I can't judge one way or another.

Looks like someone was paying attention (2, Informative)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401793)

Link [theregister.co.uk] .

I wonder ... (5, Interesting)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401829)

As a developer when i see a company do this ... I seriously quetion if I can refuse to participate in my companies work in pursuing patents for my work ... b/c if the company was to ever collapse (not being a business person) I could be crippling my own future at other employers ... imagine switching jobs and being your new company being sued by a "defunct" company you used to work for ...

Re:I wonder ... (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402219)

you can quit.

the good news would be that your new company would be an attractive enough target to sue.

Intel = Deep Pockets (3, Interesting)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 7 years ago | (#16401907)

Guess Transmeta is going after the biggest guy with the deepest pockets . . . seems a little hard to believe that AMD wouldn't be doing something similar to what Intel is doing (that Transmeta claims in infringing).

If Transmeta scores a win against Intel, then maybe that could lead to licensing agreements with others that may be afraid that they would also lose in litigation. In the meantime, this is one time where AMD may be thankful that they don't have the largest marketshare and the deepest pockets in the CPU industry.

Re:Intel = Deep Pockets (1)

SirKron (112214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402111)

Yes, they dumped their expenses (payroll) and launched a new product (lawsuit) with a huge payoff potential.

Sounds like someone needs to pay off some investors.

Hint: don't buy their stock, it will be dumped.

Re:Intel = Deep Pockets (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402723)

I wonder when the companies with the deep pockets would make an example of a troll by simply dragging out the case so long that the troll shrivels up. If you pay them off, then you may just be encouraging other trolls to try the same thing. IBM is the only one I can think of that is doing it this way. Unfortunately, either way, the lawyers are getting their money, but paying them off with a settlement every time seems to be encouraging this sort of thing.

Re:Intel = Deep Pockets (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403681)

> seems a little hard to believe that AMD wouldn't be doing something similar to what Intel is doing

AMD sells Transmeta's Efficeon chips, Transmeta licenses Hypertransport and x86_64 from AMD. They have no such coziness with Intel.

Um, hello? (2, Interesting)

tehSpork (1000190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402193)

Intel should just purchase Transmeta outright, between their engineering crew and patents it would be a smart move.

Deffo would make more sense to me than the rumored purchase of nVidia. :)

mo3 d0wn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16402217)

is part oF the

di3k (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16402601)

Note to self. . . (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402689)

new business plan:
1) form small company of engineers and scientists with good ideas but no idea how to implement them yet
2) wait for big companies with the resources to actually implement some form of the patented ideas to do so
3) sue, sue, sue
4) profit

Re:Note to self. . . (2, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403325)

Sorry, that business plan was patented by Lemelson [wikipedia.org] 30 years ago.

Those who can't make ... sue (0, Redundant)

systems (764012) | more than 7 years ago | (#16402735)

like those who can't do ... teach

YRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16402907)

Since this is a story about my rights online, I have nothing to worry about.

Why all the Transmeta-bashing? (1)

diorcc (644903) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403003)

They implemented those ideas first... Sure its kind of silly to go after Pentium III.. But for the 2 new CPU's its not a bad idea at all. Oh and Transmeta is but dying out, only changing. Drill deeper before drawing such conclusions. Ya intel-lovers :P

Re:Why all the Transmeta-bashing? (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16403803)

It takes a lot of balls to sue the company whose products form the basis of your business model. If these guys were so brilliant why didn't they create their own unique processor rather than create a super-slow version of Intel's.

Check out Intel's wrongdoing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16403533)

It's here: http://malfy.org/ [malfy.org]

Shades of SCO (1)

linuxguy (98493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16404125)


This reminds me of SCO's tactics: "We have run out of business ideas, we cant seem to be able to make any money, we are headed straight for bankruptcy. Lets sue somebody big."

And then later: "Oh wait we shouldn't have. Bankruptcy would have been so much better than the mess we are in now"

Litigation as a business strategy isn't a good idea. You could get lucky like NTP in NTP Vs. RIMM. However the odds are not very good.

I am pretty sure that Transmeta approached Intel and asked them to take out licenses on said patents and Intel took a look and said "No Thanks". Now Transmeta is suing Intel. Sour grapes. Its a good thing Linus doesn't work for them anymore.

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