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Friday, November 09, 2007, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Apple, Intel among those facing renewed suit over PCI Express

Having proven that its technology is patentable, Microlinc LLC has filed suit against ten large computing firms claiming patent infringement through use of the PCI Express bus.

Filed this week in the lawsuit-friendly Marshall Division of the Eastern district of Texas, the 18-page complaint follows a two-year delay where Delaware-based Microlinc successfully proved that a 1999 patent for computers with packet-based interconnects was valid before filing a new version of a previous lawsuit, which it had originally submitted to the court in November 2005.

Intel's PCI Express technology, which is used to connect video cards and other peripherals inside most modern computers, is said to infringe on that patent through the way it transmits information to the rest of a system. By extension, any company manufacturing parts that include PCI Express connections are also responsible for infringing on the patent, Microlinc claims.

As a result, Intel is named alongside nine other companies that the plaintiff believes are contributing to the perceived infringement. Intel's rival AMD is included for using PCI Express for its mainboards, as is NVIDIA. Large computer makers Apple, Acer, Dell, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Sony, and Toshiba are all accused of aiding Intel by building desktops and notebooks that use the offending technology.

Represented by the law firm Brown McCarroll, Microlinc hopes to land permanent injunctions blocking all of the defending firms from producing or selling products that infringe on the patent. It also hopes to collect unspecified damages from each of the ten companies.

Apple has maintained its traditional silence regarding lawsuits, choosing to avoid comment on the matter.