SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Intel Corp. here today expanded its legal assault against Broadcom Corp., charging the Irvine, Calif.-based company with patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Delaware, also alleges that Broadcom is involved in a "carefully crafted plan" to base its business around Intel's communications-chip technology.
Intel is claiming that Broadcom has infringed upon a wide range of technologies, such as "smart networking products, motion picture decoding [chips], and even the packages which Broadcom uses to sell its chips," according to documents filed by the Santa Clara chip giant.
Intel is seeking unspecified monetary damages from Broadcom. Officials at Broadcom said it has not reviewed the suit, but the company also denied Intel's allegations.
The lawsuit follows Intel's move last March to file an injunction in the Superior Court of California against sev eral former employees from joining Broadcom, its rival in communications ICs. The ex-Intel employees were reportedly working on key projects within Intel's Level One Communications subsidiary, which supplies transceivers, hub ICs, and telecommunications chips. Intel acquired Level One last year for about $1.2 billion.
The former Intel employees were reportedly working on key switch-chip and Gigabit Ethernet transceiver products, which, in fact, are competitive with those from Broadcom. Still, Intel's actions last March mystified some industry observers.
Broadcom introduced its own line of switch-chip and Gigabit Ethernet transceiver products in 1998. In contrast, Intel rolled out a line of competing products only in recent weeks.
But Intel's new lawsuit maintains that Broadcom still misappropriated its trade secrets. Documents filed by Intel claimed that a May 25 order by the Superior Court said "there was probable cause to believe that Broadcom's highest management had misappropriated Intel tra de secrets under the pretense of 'employment interviews.'"
"When Intel discovered the misappropriation and confronted Broadcom demanding the return of its information, Broadcom attempted to conceal a set of notes detailing the misappropriated Intel trade secrets," the suit claims. "Despite Intel's repeated demands, Broadcom refused to return the information until ordered to do so."
According to the suit, Broadcom is now subject to a court-appointed, independent monitor to ensure that it complies with the court that it not misappropriate Intel's trade secrets. Broadcom was also ordered to provide Intel with various documents relating to Broadcom's misappropriation of Intel trade secrets.
The suit also claims that Broadcom infringed upon five patents: 4,975,830; 5,894,410; 5,134,478; 5,079,630; and 4,823,201. These patents deal with networking-chip products, decoding ICs, and packaging techniques, Intel said.