Correction, 12:50 p.m. PST: This blog initially misstated the name of the group that filed suit against Intel. The group is called the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
Forget the patent troll. Bring on the patent badger!
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation sued Intel on Wednesday for patent infringement, charging that the Core 2 Duo infringes on a patent granted to University of Wisconsin at Madison researchers in 1998 for a processor design that can break instructions into separate strands for more efficient processing. (Thanks, Engadget.)
The patent covers a method in which certain instructions that would normally have to wait for other instructions to finish processing before they can move forward can be processed in part while waiting for the other tasks to finish. It's like if you're waiting for someone to finish a report because you need their data to complete your own, but you go ahead and get started because you have a pretty good idea of what their data is going to conclude. It's a bit more complicated than that, of course, but prediction works very well in modern microprocessing, especially in processors with multiple cores.
In a press release, WARF said it tried to get Intel to license the technology back in 2001, but the company wasn't interested. Intel has also "aggressively marketed" this type of technology with its Core 2 Duo promotions, according to WARF.
I think that's referring to what Intel calls Intel Wide Dynamic Execution (click for PDF), which Intel says "improves execution speed and efficiency, delivering more instructions per clock cycle. Each core can complete up to four full instructions simultaneously."
An Intel representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin-Madison claims the fierce Bucky Badger as its mascot.