Originally created 08/14/97

Intel files infringement countersuit against Digital



WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - Intel Corp., turning up the heat in a legal dispute with Digital Equipment Corp., has filed a countersuit accusing Digital of infringing its patents.

The allegations in the suit filed in federal court on Tuesday are similar to those made earlier by Digital against Intel.

Intel, the world's largest maker of computer chips, accuses Digital of infringing 14 Intel patents ranging from microprocessor architecture to chip manufacturing and design of computer systems.

Digital, Intel claims, uses that technology throughout its product line of chips, desktop computers and servers.

But Digital, in a statement, called the countersuit "a typical step for a company that has been sued for patent infringement." The Maynard, Mass., company said it was determined to pursue its own case in court.

In May, Digital sued Intel, accusing the Santa Clara, Calif., company of infringing 10 of its patents. It claimed Intel copied its technology to monopolize the market for microprocessors, the silicon "brains" of personal computers. Intel's chips are found in 85 percent of PCs.

Industry observers consider Digital's suit risky because it is a customer as well as a rival of Intel, using Intel's chips in some of its computers. After Digital sued, Intel hinted that it might stop selling chips to Digital.

Analysts weren't surprised by Intel's countersuit.

"They basically intend to keep upping the ante and dragging this out for as long as it will go. By then it really won't matter who wins," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group in Santa Clara.