An International Trade Commission lawsuit brought by technology company X2Y Attenuators
against Intel -- claiming that the chipmaker had stolen X2Y's technology and used in chips purchased by other manufacturers -- has failed, with a preliminary ruling
by Judge David Shaw that not only did Intel not infringe on the three energy-conditioning patents in question, but that two of the X2Y patents were invalid. Also named in the lawsuit were Apple and HP, since both use certain Intel chips in their products. Both companies were also cleared.
X2Y, which doesn't make hardware itself but works to improve the efficiency of chips and licenses many of its inventions to Samsung, noted in a statement that the ruling was preliminary, and the full six-judge commission could still rule in their favor. "X2Y remains confident that [the ITC] will protect true innovation regardless of the size of the innovator, and [X2Y] will continue to vigorously enforce its intellectual property against those infringers," the company said in a statement
. X2Y indicated it had always been willing to license the patents to Intel on a FRAND-like basis, reports Bloomberg
A number of American lawmakers had taken an interest in the case, as Intel's chips are manufactured in the US (with final assembly being done in various other countries) and a loss and possible product ban would have cost US jobs. The full panel has the power to bar sales of products found to be infringing, though the likelihood of Intel having to deal with this now seems remote. X2Y plans to request a full review, saying it disagrees with the judge's findings.
In the meantime, Apple and HP are indemnified from any risk in using the chips made by Intel, which defended itself by saying it used its own original technology and did not steal from X2Y. The ITC has until April 15 to complete its investigation.