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Tensilica claims victory in patent fight

Posted: 25 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Dylan McGrath? configurable processors? patent suit?

A key patent for configurable processor design held by Tensilica Inc. has withstood an anonymous challenge without modification, the company said early this week. An additional 102 claims were also accepted into the patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Tensilica said.

In May 2004, a USPTO examiner re-examined and rejected all 104 claims in Tensilica's keystone patent 6,477,683. The claims, which form the basis for Tensilica's approach to generating tools for configurable processors, were deemed at the time to either to be covered by prior art or to not represent a patentable advance.

A patent challenge asking for re-examination of 41 of the patent's claims was filed in May 2003 by an anonymous party, which is allowed under U.S. patent law.

A spokesperson for Tensilica said that the company has spent the last two years working through the USPTO's process to get the claims reinstated. Most newly accepted claims, the spokesperson said, pertain to the method for using the automated processor generation described in the patent. The spokesperson reiterated that Tensilica does not know the identity of the party that filed the challenge, but said the company assumes that the party is a player in the industry because of the large financial resources needed to pursue such a challenge.

Tensilica, at the same time, announced that it has been granted eight new configurable processor technology patents by the USPTO, bring the company's total to 10 patents in configurable processor technology. The company said it also holds several fundamental patents on processor architecture and has several other patents pending.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times




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