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Unversity of Wisconsin "Badgers" Intel with Patent Infringement Suit

February 7, 2008

First, the reference in the headline. A play on the fact that the Unviersity of Wisconsin-Madison's sports teams are known as the "Badgers."

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) put out a statement today saying it charging Intel Corporation with patent infringement of a University of Wisconsin-Madison invention that significantly improves the efficiency and speed of computer processing. WARF, a private, non-profit corporation that is a supporting organization to the UW-Madison, filed their complaint yesterday against Intel in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Here's what WARF says about their complaint:

WARF filed this complaint to ensure that the interests of the UW-Madison and its inventors are protected and that WARF receives the compensation to which it is entitled for Intel's unlicensed use of the invention. This compensation will be used to advance continued research at the university. The foundation's complaint identifies the Intel CoreTM 2 Duo microarchitecture as infringing WARF's United States Patent No. 5,781,752, entitled "Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer."

The technology, patented in 1998, was developed by four researchers at the UW-Madison, including Professor Gurindar Sohi, currently the chair of the university's Computer Science Department. Intel has aggressively marketed the benefits of this invention as a feature of its Core 2 technology. "The technology significantly enhances opportunities for instruction level parallelism in modern processors, thereby increasing their execution speed," states Michael Falk, WARF general counsel.

The WARF patent discloses and claims a data speculation circuit that facilitates the advanced execution of instructions before other instructions on which they may be data dependent, resulting in improved execution efficiency and speed. "The technology of the UW-Madison researchers has been widely recognized in the field of computer architecture as a pioneering invention," states Falk.

According to Falk, WARF contacted Intel in 2001, and made repeated attempts, including meeting face-to-face with company representatives, to offer legal licensing opportunities for the technology.

"We are disappointed with Intel's lack of response in resolving this matter, and while we were not anxious to use the courts to enforce our patent rights, we have no other recourse given our duty to protect the intellectual property of our inventors and the university."

WARF is asking the court to declare that Intel is infringing on its patent. The court also will be asked to enjoin Intel from selling the product, and to order Intel to pay damages to WARF and cover WARF's legal fees.

In 1925, WARF was established as the world's first university-based technology transfer office. It supports world-class research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by funding research, protecting the intellectual property of university faculty, staff and students, and by licensing inventions resulting from their work to benefit the world.

Hey, WARF, not WORF. That's the guy with the ridges and the photon torpedoes.

But that said, WARF seems to have some photon torpedoes in their quiver as well.

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