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August 1, 1988

HEARINGS END IN INTEL VERSUS NEC MICROCODE CASE

By CBR Staff Writer

Hearings in the Intel Corp lawsuit against NEC Corp, in which the San Jose chipmaker alleges that NEC infringed its copyright in the code that makes up the microcode of the 8086 and 8088 chips when designing the NEC V30 and V20 microprocessors, ended on Friday, and Judge William Gray said he would issue a ruling later this year, sometime after he returns from his vacation. A key piece of testimony involved clean room microcode, in which an engineer was given the appropriate hardware without access to the Intel or NEC versions of the microcode was asked to come up with his own microcode. NEC claims that the resulting code was very similar to Intel’s, Intel sees significant differences; NEC anyway claims the code was not copyrightable, and that Intel failed to take all reasonable steps to protect its rights.

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