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Patent litigation probably couldn’t get more high stakes than a Delaware lawsuit currently unfolding against Intel Corp. Transmeta Corp. has accused the Silicon Valley chip giant of infringing on 10 patents in its hugely successful Pentium products.

Yet rather than battle it out in court, Intel is trying to put the brakes on the proceedings. The company is making use of a relatively new government process, known as inter partes re-examination, that is becoming an increasingly popular way for accused infringers to get patents invalidated. It’s far less costly than litigation, and even if the patent is upheld, a stall in court proceedings increases the likelihood of a settlement, patent attorneys say.

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