Being one of the leaders in the processor market does not protect Intel from patent claims from other companies, and you only need to look at the “litigation” section of each of the quarterly reports to understand how many there are. In Germany, representatives of the Californian R2 Semiconductor managed to convince the court that Intel was violating the company’s patents, after which the sale of certain processors of this brand on the local market was banned.
For these reasons, sales of not only Intel processors themselves, but also HP and Dell computers based on them were banned in Germany, as explained Financial Times. California-based R2 Semiconductor is trying to prove in courts of various jurisdictions that Intel is illegally using a number of its patents related to voltage regulators built into the processor. In December, a court in Germany already recognized the validity of R2 Semiconductor’s claims to the authorship of one of the controversial technologies. In the US, the company lost a legal dispute with Intel, and the court in the UK has not yet made its decision. German courts have ruled that Intel should not attempt to patent the controversial technology in local jurisdictions.
The court decision in Germany affects Intel processors of the Ice Lake, Tiger Lake and Alder Laks families, as well as Xeon server processors of the Ice Lake-SP generation. Sources close to Intel explained that the scale of damage from this verdict was reduced, since some of the listed processors were simply discontinued, and the latest Raptor Lake and Raptor Lake Refresh are not affected by this patent dispute. In an official statement, Intel said that R2 Semiconductor is engaged in “serial extortion of money from companies that are true innovators”. In the USA, Intel managed to invalidate the R2 Semiconductor patent through the courts, after which the latter switched its attention to European courts. By and large, Intel considers its opponent in this dispute to be a banal “dummy” and a “patent troll” who does not conduct any real activities other than litigation.
Representatives from R2 Semiconductor said they were in talks with Intel about an investment from the latter in 2015, but then the other party suddenly lost interest in the potential deal. Intel is the only company against which R2 Semiconductor has patent claims. The court ordered Intel to provide statistics on sales of processors affected by the dispute in the period from March 2020 in Germany, since on the basis of this information the amount of material damage will be determined. Intel is going to challenge this court decision.