- Three generations of Intel CPUs face a permanent sales ban in Germany following the company’s first-instance loss in a patent infringement case.
- The complaint, filed by Californian microchip designer R2 Semiconductor, alleges Intel infringed on the company’s voltage-regulation technology.
- A German court has issued an injunction against the sales of the allegedly patent-infringing CPUs, with Intel confirming it will appeal the decision.
Intel could be banned from selling three generations’ worth of its CPUs in Germany following a court ruling that the company has labeled as disappointing. While the verdict is still not final, this turn of events threatens to put a dent in Intel’s prospects in the largest European economy.
The Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor manufacturer typically debuts new CPU generations in the fourth quarter of each year. Its latest such launch dates back to October 2023, when Intel introduced its 14th-gen Raptor Lake processors. But while the company was in the process of publicizing the details of its newest CPUs, it was privately fighting off a patent infringement complaint from R2 Semiconductor, a microchip designer incorporated in Palo Alto, California.
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The dispute has most recently resulted in a German court issuing an injunction that forbids the sales of select Intel Core CPUs, as first reported by the Financial Times. German laws provide Intel with an automatic right of appeal against the early February verdict, which the company says it intends to exercise. But this first-instance loss is already a troubling sign for the group, as the injunction encompasses multiple generations of its semiconductors, the most recent of which is Intel’s 12th-gen Alder Lake CPU lineup, first released in 2021. R2’s patent that Intel is said to have infringed concerns a solution for voltage regulation.
Intel Core CPUs That Face Germany Sales Ban
- Ice Lake (10th gen, launched in 2019, discontinued in 2021)
- Tiger Lake (11th gen, launched in 2020, discontinued in 2023)
- Alder Lake (12th gen, launched in 2021)
A permanent injunction wouldn’t just stop the company from selling the affected processors to consumers, but also prevent B2B sales. Meaning that many models of laptops and pre-built desktop PCs would also have to be pulled from the market. In a recent media statement, Intel described R2 as an entity that “appears to be a shell company” and primarily deals in litigation instead of having a viable business. A spokesperson for the group concluded that the litigant should not have been awarded an injunction that prevents the sales of critical PC components, arguing that such a move directly hurts both consumers and national security.
Some of the affected products are indeed fairly popular and widespread, both in Germany and elsewhere. E.g., multiple Alder Lake processors are still touted as some of the best-value Intel CPUs that money can buy in 2024. Meanwhile, the Ice Lake and Tiger Lake processors have stopped being produced in 2021 and 2023, respectively, although most of them are still available for purchase from many German retailers.
R2 Rejects Intel’s Allegations of Patent Trolling
R2 CEO David Fisher has rejected Intel’s allegations of patent trolling, claiming this was the only IP infringement complaint ever filed by his company. The executive also said that Intel previously approached R2 over a potential investment but pulled out at the last minute in 2015, implying the group has been eyeing R2’s voltage-regulation technology for years.
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- CPU Model
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- CPU Socket
- LGA 1700
- 24 (8P + 16E)
- Raptor Lake (Refresh)
- Intel 7 (10 nm)
- Base Clock Speed
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- Boost Clock Speed
- 6 GHz
- 32MB L2 + 36MB L3 Cache
- PCI-E 4.0/5.0 supported
- Intel UHD Graphics 770
- 253 W