Intergraph files objections to Intel's injunction appeal

Intergraph today defended its right to be given continued access to confidential information about Intel's product plans, arguing that Intel failed to refute Intergraph's claim that cutting off the information would cause the workstation maker irreparable harm.

Intergraph's filing comes in response to Intel's appeal of a preliminary injunction awarded against it in April of this year by US District Court, Northern District of Alabama, which ordered Intel to resume the supply of product samples and information to Intergraph.

Intel said in its appeal, filed with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, that Intergraph had not proven Intel is a monopoly as defined by antitrust law, nor that its actions harmed competition.

However, Intergraph said in its brief filed today that Intel's appeal of the injunction failed to mount notable challenges to three of the four factors supporting the injunction, including that Intergraph would suffer irreparable harm if it were denied the information. Intergraph says it cannot build workstations without samples and information about future Intel products.

Intergraph sued Intel in November of last year alleging that the chip giant coerced it into handing over certain technology patents by cutting off advance Intel product information that Intergraph needs to build its workstations.

Because Intel is the dominant supplier of chips to the PC industry, depriving Intergraph of the ability to use its products represents a threat to competition, and is therefore a violation of antitrust law, Intergraph argued in its lawsuit.

The US District Court in Alabama determined in April that Intergraph is likely to win its case based on its merits, and ordered Intel to provide Intergraph with the advance product information it needs for the duration of the case.

Meanwhile the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has lodged an antitrust lawsuit against Intel in part because of Intel's alleged mistreatment of Intergraph, today finalised a consent order related to Digital Equipment's sale of its semiconductor manufacturing assets to Intel.

As part of that sale, Intel would become the main supplier of Digital's 64-bit Alpha processor, which Digital would then market and sell. Intel is planning to release its own 64-bit chip in 2000, Merced, which is expected to compete with Alpha, and the FTC's order requires Digital to start looking for an alternative supplier of the chips, including possibly IBM or Samsung Electronics.

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