SGI sues ATI for patent infringement

Complaint alleges graphics chipmaker infringed a computer-graphics patent that ATI's competitors have licensed.

Silicon Graphics has sued ATI Technologies, alleging the graphics chipmaker infringed a computer-graphics patent that ATI's competitors have licensed.

SGI argues that ATI's Radeon graphics chips use technology in the patent, No. 6,650,327, and seeks unspecified damages. The move comes just days after SGI exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with new financing, a trimmed-down product line and new executives and board members.

"SGI has licensed this technology to ATI's major competitors and, as I have previously been stating publicly, SGI intends to aggressively protect and enforce its intellectual property," said Dennis McKenna,, in a statement.

SGI filed its complaint Monday in U.S. District Court for the western district of Wisconsin. The complaint requests a trial by jury.

ATI spokesman Chris Evenden said the company is looking into the lawsuit details. "We're not commenting until we've analyzed every aspect of it," he said.

Last week, chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices said it expects to complete its acquisition of ATI this week. ATI doesn't expect SGI's suit to affect the acquisition, Evenden added.

The patent, filed in 1998 and awarded in 2003, involves describing graphical elements with floating-point numerals to balance the range and precision of values that can be stored. Floating-point numbers include an exponential component that spans a wide range of numbers, but that range can come at the expense of the precision afforded by the main alternative, integer numerals.

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