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August 24, 2012

Intel Patent Conflict Could Lead to Job Loss in Arizona: Politicians Claim

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Usually a patent conflict just involves inventors and/or businesses involved in a dispute. But in the case of a new patent battle involving Intel (News - Alert) – an entire region in Arizona is worried about many new jobs being at risk.

The city of Chandler, located near Phoenix, is expecting some 300 new jobs, and construction contracts which will benefit a thousand workers who are to construct a new Intel plant there.

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and other government leaders say the jobs are at risk because of a patent case at the U.S. International Trade Commission. It relates to X2Y Attenuators, which claims some Intel microprocessors improperly employ its technology. The company wants related products banned as imports.

“Given the strained economic climate specifically in Arizona as well as coast to coast, it is easy to see how an exclusion order that discourages U.S. manufacturing could do more harm than good with respect to public interest,” McCain and some of his colleagues wrote in an Aug. 9 letter to the ITC.

An ITC judge, David Shaw, was to start hearing testimony in the case this week. Shaw’s initial findings are expected by December. The full commission also has to weigh in on the case. The entire case should be concluded by April 15, 2013.

In a statement published on its website, X2Y said it “is aware that several Members of Congress from Oregon and Arizona have submitted statements to the International Trade Commission encouraging the Commission to refuse to issue an exclusion order against Intel in the event Intel is found to infringe X2Y's patents.”

“We are certainly pleased that Members of Congress have taken an interest in this dispute, but it appears that they were not provided with complete information,” the company added. “X2Y, contrary to statements made in the Members submission to the ITC, licenses its technology to a number of manufacturers that include X2Y's technology in their products. X2Y approached Intel over a decade ago and explained how X2Y's technology would improve Intel's products if Intel wished to take a license. Intel did not take a license, but appears to have adopted X2Y’s technology anyway. X2Y is willing, and has always been willing, to provide Intel with a license at a reasonable rate similar to that paid by its other licensees for their manufacture and use of X2Y technology. X2Y cannot, however, allow any company to use its technology for free.”

“X2Y does not seriously believe that the Members of Congress from Oregon and Arizona think that it is a good idea for a large company – even one as powerful as Intel – to be free to steal the technology of others,” the statement continued. “If Intel is found to be infringing X2Y's patents, it trusts that the Commission will exercise its authority to stop Intel's unlawful activities. The Members of Congress have expressed concern that an exclusion order would somehow result in job loss or other harm to the economy. Intel, however, can easily avoid any harm to itself, its employees, and the US economy by simply taking a license to continue its current use, by redesigning its products to remove X2Y's patented technology, or by moving all of its operations into the United States.”

X2Y provides products which improve the performance of circuits.

Intel is planning to invest $300 million in the new research and development facility in Chandler. Construction already started on the 285,000-square-foot research facility, located near existing Intel buildings, according to the Arizona Republic newspaper. The new complex will be used in working on “package development," which relates to the housing found near a microchip that connects the chip to a computer board, the newspaper added.

In other company news, Intel was recently assigned a U.S. patent developed by four co-inventors for "exposing device features in partitioned environment," TMCnet reported. It relates to a technique used to process an input/output (I/O) transaction.

Want to learn more about patents in the telecom industry? Then be sure to attend Synopsis Under IP/Patents Telecom Sourcing Conference (SUITS), collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.   Stay in touch with everything happening at SUITS.  Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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