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Intel threatens to pull AMD’s rights and licenses

Intel threatens to pull AMD’s rights and licenses

Intel has granted AMD an x86 license since the 8086 days, but it's now threatening to pull AMD's licenses.

Intel’s relationship with AMD has been particularly rocky since AMD filed a massive antitrust case against Intel in 2005, but the situation took a further turn towards the rocks of doom today when Intel threatened to pull licenses and rights granted to AMD in a patent cross-license agreement in 2001. The threat relates to Intel’s belief that AMD breached the aforementioned agreement when it split into two companies in October 2008, creating a second foundry company.

In a statement issued today, Intel said that it “believes that Global Foundries is not a subsidiary under terms of the agreement and is therefore not licensed under the 2001 patent cross-license agreement.” The company also claimed that “the structure of the deal between AMD and ATIC breaches a confidential portion of that agreement,” adding that “Intel has asked AMD to make the relevant portion of the agreement public, but so far AMD has declined to do so.”

According to Intel, AMD’s breach of the agreement “could result in the loss of licenses and rights granted to AMD by Intel under the agreement.” This could include AMD’s x86 license from Intel, which would be a devastating blow to AMD in the current PC industry.

Explaining the threat, Intel’s senior vice president, Bruce Sewell, said that "intellectual property is a cornerstone of Intel's technology leadership and for more than 30 years, the company has believed in the strategic importance of licensing intellectual property in exchange for fair value. However AMD cannot unilaterally extend Intel's licensing rights to a third party without Intel's consent."

Sewell claimed that Intel had been attempting to address its concerns about AMD’s creation of a new foundry company since October. He added that “we are willing to find a resolution but at the same time we have an obligation to our stockholders to protect the billions of dollars we've invested in intellectual property." According to Intel, the terms of the agreement mean that both parties now have to “attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation.”

So far, AMD doesn’t seem particularly fazed by Intel’s notification. In response, the company stated that “Intel’s action is an attempt to distract the world from the global antitrust scrutiny it faces.” AMD also added that “should this matter proceed to litigation, we will prove that Intel fabricated this claim to interfere with our commercial relationships and thus has violated the cross-license.”

Is Intel really protecting its intellectual property here, or is it flexing its muscles to distract people from the antitrust case? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

28 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
comeradealexi 16th March 2009, 17:27 Quote
But dont AMD own x64 or something like that?
Tim S 16th March 2009, 17:30 Quote
yep, what AMD is saying is that it believes it can continue making x86 processors, but remove Intel's x86-64 license because of this 'breach of cross license' as AMD refers to it.

It's a game of legal tennis.

From Twitter via AMD's Patrick Moorhead:
Quote:
AMD IP that Intel leverages: 64-bit architecture extensions, integrated memory controllers, multi-core architecture.
Interesting if all of that is true.
Gremlin 16th March 2009, 17:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
yep, what AMD is saying is that it believes it can continue making x86 processors, but remove Intel's x86-64 license because of this 'breach of cross license' as AMD refers to it.

It's a game of legal tennis.

From Twitter via AMD's Patrick Moorhead:
Quote:
AMD IP that Intel leverages: 64-bit architecture extensions, integrated memory controllers, multi-core architecture.
Interesting if all of that is true.

Quite simply Intel is ****ed

if they actually lost this case, everything is headed x64, and look at its new chips that leverage all of this AMD IP, if they lost the right to that that could seriously cause some problems

If they won it'd pretty much put AMD out of business, which means totl Monopoly and regulators are REALLY not going to like that

Honestly i think this was a BAD move by intel if it goes too far
Burnout21 16th March 2009, 17:57 Quote
if intel pulls the x86 agreement, then AMD will counter with the 64-bit and multi-core agreement, in which intel would result in lossing more, thus turning AMD into a monopoly to which the authorities could clamp down on.

Basically Intel cant hurt AMD as AMD will hurt them back, the only way either company can hurt each other is down to sales.
Zurechial 16th March 2009, 18:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnout21
Basically Intel cant hurt AMD as AMD will hurt them back, the only way either company can hurt each other is down to sales.

Which is usually awesome for consumers. :)

Does anyone else here ever get excited by these big potential shakeups in the industry?
While the reality is rarely quite as exciting, I always imagine weird, optimistic scenarios of corporate battles bringing about whole new epochs in processor design or somesuch.

All of a sudden AMD start making the fastest CPUs with exclusive rights to the newest technologies and architectures, Intel start producing the best GPUs, nVidia take over as market-leader in the sound card market and VIA become AMD's biggest competitor, meanwhile Microsoft announces that the next iteration of Windows will be open-source, use a Linux kernel AND be produced in coalition with Apple!

And in the background, Maas Biotek are about to make a killing with their latest line of neural interfaces to the Matrix.

Persuadertrons at the ready!

:):):)

A hyperactive imagination makes interesting news articles even better. :)
Natima 16th March 2009, 18:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnout21
Basically Intel cant hurt AMD as AMD will hurt them back, the only way either company can hurt each other is down to sales.

Which is usually awesome for consumers. :)

Does anyone else here ever get excited by these big potential shakeups in the industry?
While the reality is rarely quite as exciting, I always imagine weird, optimistic scenarios of corporate battles bringing about whole new epochs in processor design or somesuch.

All of a sudden AMD start making the fastest CPUs with exclusive rights to the newest technologies and architectures, Intel start producing the best GPUs, nVidia take over as market-leader in the sound card market and VIA become AMD's biggest competitor, meanwhile Microsoft announces that the next iteration of Windows will be open-source, use a Linux kernel AND be produced in coalition with Apple!

And in the background, Maas Biotek are about to make a killing with their latest line of neural interfaces to the Matrix.

Persuadertrons at the ready!

:):):)

A hyperactive imagination makes interesting news articles even better. :)

You never know! It could happen... It would be awesome too. I was just thinking today that x86 and microsofts & apples exclusivity is getting very stale!
In reality microsoft and apple need to have compatible OS's so real competition can take place.
AMD and Intel need to quit it with all the licencing and legal battles and just get on with it.

On a side note, This article makes it sound like its CPU WW1! Big stuff.
Both companies could potentially obliterate the other. Its like the nuclear standoff in the cold war. Which company is willing to fire the first shot?
genesisofthesith 16th March 2009, 18:19 Quote
If AMD lose the rights to produce x86 chips, the x86-64 superset is effectively worthless to them.

I also seriously doubt AMD have exclusive rights to the use of IMC or multi-core processors, and their statement that Intel is doing this merely to distract from all the anti-competitive action investigations does appear pretty desperate.

It's in the best interests of both sides to sit down and renegotiate their deal in light of AMD's fab spinoff, and quite why AMD is so reluctant (given that Intel have been asking for this for months, ever since the initial proposal for the spinoff) seems baffling.
Dr. Strangelove 16th March 2009, 18:26 Quote
Can AMD in theory make a CPU without Intel's license? like a 64bit only chip? (I would assume not).

With regard to the monopoly idea.... well if license agreements are broken then the license is invalidated, in other words Intel would become a monopoly due to AMD committing commercial suicide.... what would regulators do? break up Intel just so that there would not be a monopoly situation? I mean that's basically the same scenario as what happens if AMD for some reason when bankrupt?

Usually monopolies arise due to mergers of companies, if one company becomes a monopoly due to situations out of their control.. then what happens?

I know that in this case obviously Intel can control the situation and at the same time both companies have so many cross licenses that I fully agree with Burnout21.
azrael- 16th March 2009, 18:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
And in the background, Maas Biotek are about to make a killing with their latest line of neural interfaces to the Matrix.

Would that mean that it's soon time to free Wintermute?
Jenny_Y8S 16th March 2009, 18:41 Quote
Hold on, Intel may be right. They have a contract with AMD, if AMD have broken the contract, than Intel have a responsibility to their share holders to protect their property.

If Intel let AMD "give" the licence to "a" third party, then how about more third parties? Can AMD keep splitting and splitting to create lots of companies creating x86 procs? All of them running on the "same" licence?

I want lots of people building chips, fast-slow-hot-cool-multi-core-flexible-trasparent whatever... and currently the flavour of the month is x86 for no other reason than that is where the big bucks R&D is going (look at Apple!)

But there is a legal issue here, and while we don't want it to be there it is there, and one side can't just decide to break the rules.

They'll sort it out, but a big part of my thinks AMD are pulling a fast one in the hope that somewhere down the line noone is going to allow there to be one major chip maker.

So who wins out of all this?

Via!
Panos 16th March 2009, 19:13 Quote
AMD doesn't give away their licence. They just produce their products on someone else factory.

Take for example Apple and Iphone. It's products are made by Foxconn.
Foxconn hasn't the ability to produce +1 without Apple's permission.
Zurechial 16th March 2009, 19:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by azrael-
Would that mean that it's soon time to free Wintermute?

Glad someone got that reference. :)
Singularity 16th March 2009, 19:59 Quote
Well, if the licence states that AMD may produce x86 chips, then I don't see how they would be allowed to form a new company under it that would do the same :S
Also, the "AMD pulling the x64 licence" idea doesn't really stand. I doubt the licence says "if Intel take away x86 we take what we own". I don't see how AMD could LEGALLY pull anything they licence to Intel, if Intel doesn't breach their side of the agreement...
murtoz 16th March 2009, 20:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panos
AMD doesn't give away their licence. They just produce their products on someone else factory.

Take for example Apple and Iphone. It's products are made by Foxconn.
Foxconn hasn't the ability to produce +1 without Apple's permission.

I believe the original x86 license only allowed AMD to outsource a certain percentage of their manufacturing...

clickety click, yep:
Quote:
Originally Posted by XBit Labs
While AMD can outsource part of its production, contract manufacturers can only legally produce 20% of AMD’s total output, according to some claims.

So that's true, and if AMD don't own at least 50% of the new manufacturing company, Intel sees it as outsourcing, and therefore says AMD is in breach of their license.

Daft games...
wafflesomd 16th March 2009, 21:47 Quote
Or Intel could just **** off and let them both create CPU's without all this dumb bickering back and forth.

I can't see Intel following through with this. It could put AMD out of business, and Intel would be a monopoly.
lnwolfy 16th March 2009, 21:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Which is usually awesome for consumers. :)

Does anyone else here ever get excited by these big potential shakeups in the industry?
While the reality is rarely quite as exciting, I always imagine weird, optimistic scenarios of corporate battles bringing about whole new epochs in processor design or somesuch.

All of a sudden AMD start making the fastest CPUs with exclusive rights to the newest technologies and architectures, Intel start producing the best GPUs, nVidia take over as market-leader in the sound card market and VIA become AMD's biggest competitor, meanwhile Microsoft announces that the next iteration of Windows will be open-source, use a Linux kernel AND be produced in coalition with Apple!

And in the background, Maas Biotek are about to make a killing with their latest line of neural interfaces to the Matrix.

Persuadertrons at the ready!

:):):)

A hyperactive imagination makes interesting news articles even better. :)

:):):)
SuperNova 16th March 2009, 22:39 Quote
AMD has 50(+) percent of the voting-rights of The Foundry but only own 35-40% of it. AMD basically controls the company (due to voting rights) but doesn't get as much money back as they would if they owned more.

I wonder if AMD (in the worst case) could "buy" back The Foundry for the missing 10-15 percent and get majority while the rest (49%) where owned by other people/companies.
HourBeforeDawn 16th March 2009, 23:03 Quote
Current Economical times is putting AMD ahead of Intel as it has better pricing for such hard times and have seen an increase in sales, Intel isnt liking this and is trying something to slow it down eg waste AMD money on legal fees ~_~ but hey thats Intel for you... kinda reminds me of another company *caugh* nVidia *caugh* ... how quickly they become whiners when things start to slip or not go their way...
MajestiX 17th March 2009, 01:40 Quote
everyone is jumping to speculations without knowing the facts.

it went back to when the contract was created, the reason AMD was not allow to use the x86 outside of it's own manufacturing property was so intel can keep a market hold as AMD would not be able to produce enough chip if there was a great demand for it, resulting in their glass ceiling. Even if everyone wanted AMD they would probably not be able to produce more than 25% of the market share.

64 bit, integrated memory, multi core are all AMD, but they require x84.

worst case is amd has to build a new architechture or use an existing one that is not x84.
intel would be back to P4 and looking for a new way around AMD's patent.

it's a loose loose. Intel holds all the cards it's AMD that is bluffing, they agreed to the contract and knew the foundry break it.
iwod 17th March 2009, 02:15 Quote
The question is simple. Does more then 50% of Voting right equals to Subsidiary.
Or would they NEED to have more then 50% of shares to classify as Subsidiary.
I believe the latter is true......... so i dont even see AMD has a case here........
Tokukachi 17th March 2009, 03:05 Quote
Legally a Subsidiary in the US is having a controlling share in a company, you don't have to own more than 50% of the company. AMD are not stupid, they have a massive legal department and would of made sure everything was squared away when they created Foundry.

This is just posturing by Intel, something we have seen a lot of recently, by which I refer to the whole nVidia debacle that has been prominently displayed here on bit-tech.

This kind of corporate PR BS really pisses me off, and it's now getting to the point where I'll no longer purchase items manufactured by the parties involved.
mclintox 17th March 2009, 09:15 Quote
[QUOTE=Burnout21

Basically Intel cant hurt AMD as AMD will hurt them back, the only way either company can hurt each other is down to sales.[/QUOTE]

Reminds me of the cold war era of M.A.D
Xir 17th March 2009, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neat69
...and it's now getting to the point where I'll no longer purchase items manufactured by the parties involved.

Well good luck building a competitive gaming PC not based on Intel or AMD.

They're burning money an at least AMD could have used this money to NOT NEED SELLING their own fabs.
n3mo 17th March 2009, 21:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neat69
...and it's now getting to the point where I'll no longer purchase items manufactured by the parties involved.

Well good luck building a competitive gaming PC not based on Intel or AMD.


Try to imagine that: Not everyone is playing games.

Intel is just bullying as usual, they must sh*it their pants now. Economical problems take away their profit while AMD starts to be competitive again. I really hope Intel loses this case, and just to support AMD I'm going to buy me another X4 940.
magicpixel 17th March 2009, 22:57 Quote
This is going to be interesting.
With major distributors buying less and less of the 2 companies products because of the crisis, stockholders are looking at less profit in there investments.
Intel, being the leader in CPU manufacturing (quantity wise), is looking to loose more.
Profit drops, stock drops, investors whine, Intel panics, Intel starts litigation against everything and everyone in the hope to scrape in the extra X millions for the investors and/or attempt to stomp out the competition.

If the two companies get locked in a multimillion/billion dollar law suit, whoever thinks that the money is going to come from the investors pockets is vastly mistaken!
You and I are going to end up paying for it in overpriced hardware!

/end rant.
general22 18th March 2009, 03:48 Quote
Since when were AMD the pioneers of multi-core and IMC's, I highly doubt that Intel would lose their ability to make multi-core processors with IMC's.
Xir 18th March 2009, 08:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3mo
Try to imagine that: Not everyone is playing games...

In this Forum? Mwaaaah :D
n3mo 18th March 2009, 19:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by general22
Since when were AMD the pioneers of multi-core and IMC's, I highly doubt that Intel would lose their ability to make multi-core processors with IMC's.

Actually, they would. If Intel pulls AMD's licence, AMD pulls Intel's and they're back to Pentium 4 times. But this won't happen, it's just Intel trying to scrape some $$$ while being unable to make a good CPU, losing market share quickly, plus the whole "recession" hype.
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