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Creative gets ruling against Cyrix

A court agrees that the Cyrix MediaGX processor is not fully compatible with Creative's Sound Blaster technology and cannot claim so.

Creative Technology (CREAF) said Tuesday it won a court order to stop Cyrix (CYRX) from selling its Media GX processor in cases where the chip infringes on Creative's audio technology.

The order prohibits Cyrix and its customers from selling Media GX chips, as well as computer systems or circuit boards using the chip, if the Cyrix-based sound system identifies the chip as compatible with Creative's Sound Blaster audio card. Compaq (CPQ) is using the MediaGX processor in its new low-cost Presario 2100 line of consumer PCs and is also named in the lawsuit.

The crux of the Creative claim is that the Cyrix MediaGX processor is not fully compatible with Creative's Sound Blaster technology and cannot claim to be so.

However, Cyrix claimed Tuesday that it has responded. "We've worked very hard and we believe we've satisfied the terms of the TRO (Temporary Restraining Order). Therefore we are continuing to ship MediaGX product," said Steve Tobak, a vice president at Cyrix.

Compaq said it would not comment on the matter.

The MediaGX processor, one of Cyrix's most critical products in 1997, allows PC vendors to build low-cost systems since the chip incorporates audio and graphics capability into the chip's highly integrated design. Typically, audio and graphics are provided on separate hardware.

A federal court also issued a temporary restraining order which addressed Creative's complaint that Cyrix violated copyright laws and trademark claims. Creative says that Cyrix did not have permission to post software authored by Creative on its Web site. The court ordered Cyrix to stop distributing the software.

In a lawsuit filed on March 17th in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Creative alleged that Cyrix and customers using the MediaGX processor are engaging in false advertising, trademark infringement, and unfair competition. Creative alleges in its lawsuit that independent testing revealed the MediaGX lacks key functions that are found in Sound Blaster products.

Creative makes the Sound Blaster and Sound Blaster AWE line of PC audio products.

Creative will next seek a preliminary injunction to address claims that Cyrix engaged in false advertising and unfair competition by advertising that its product was Sound Blaster-compatible.