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The world’s largest computer chipmaker struck out twice last week on a pair of patent cases that could have meant big trouble for their competitors. Intel Corp. claimed in separate cases that Broadcom Corp. and Via Technologies Inc. had infringed the company’s patents. The patents meant millions of dollars in potential revenue for both Broadcom and Via. The victory was not only sweet for the two companies, but for Palo Alto, Calif.-based Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, which represented both companies. The firm had 22 attorneys working on both cases. “Everyone here is really jazzed about winning two big cases against Intel on two successive days,” said Robert Feldman, head of Wilson’s litigation department, who led the nine-attorney team representing Via. Partner Ron Shulman, who lost his voice after closing arguments in the Broadcom case Thursday, said the jury deliberated eight hours before returning the verdict. “This was a bet-the-company case,” said a hoarse Shulman, who led a team of 13 Wilson attorneys. “Their two main products were at stake, which represent three-quarters of their revenue.” In the Broadcom case, a jury in Delaware federal court found that the company did not infringe two Intel patents related to video and networking technology. The two products, Ethernet chips that connect computers to a network and MPEG chips, which are used in cable set-top boxes, generated $750 million in revenue for Broadcom this year, Shulman said. The jury found the video technology patent was not infringed and the networking patent was invalid and not infringed. Intel filed suit against Broadcom in August 2000, claiming five of its patents were infringed. The jury heard arguments on just two of the patents; a trial date has not been set with regard to the remaining three. “We’re disappointed in the verdict,” said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy. “Any time you lose a patent case for invalidity you are concerned.” He said the company hasn’t decided if it will appeal the decision. The patent dispute isn’t the only legal battle between Intel and Broadcom. Intel previously filed a trade secrets suit against Broadcom, which settled out of court last year. And Broadcom filed its own patent infringement suit against Intel in a Texas federal court about a month ago. In the Via Technologies case, Intel dropped an infringement claim against the company on the eve of the case going to trial. The chip giant’s dispute with Via began in 1999 when Intel filed suit in the Northern District of California claiming Via infringed four of its patents. Six months later the company made the same claims in a filing with the International Trade Commission. Most of the claims were settled, with the exception of those relating to Via chipsets that are compatible with Advanced Micro Devices’ microprocessors. Feldman said these chipsets represent about 35 percent of Via’s revenue. Intel claimed infringement of four different patents with regard to chipsets supporting AMD microprocessors. Intel dismissed one patent claim, and U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted summary judgment on two others. With regard to one of the patents, Alsup found that it was included in a technology standard that Intel had licensed to the industry. Mulloy said Intel decided to drop the last claim because Via had redesigned its product to avoid infringement. “Our feeling is, look, if they’re not infringing — fine,” Mulloy said. The battle between the two companies is far from resolved, however. Mulloy said it has six cases pending against Via in Delaware, Texas, Germany, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Via also has a patent infringement suit pending against Intel in Austin, Texas federal court. Boston-based Fish & Richardson represented Intel in the Broadcom case and Washington, D.C.’s Howrey Simon Arnold & White served as counsel in the Via dispute.

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