Germany outright bans Intel CPUs after patent infringements

14th Gen Core CPUs are not affected.

Intel's Headquarters in Santa Clara, California.

A German regional court ruled that Intel has infringed a patent owned by another US-based company called R2 Semiconductor. Now, Team Blue can’t sell some of its CPUs in the country.

According to Financial Times, Intel lost a patent lawsuit against R2 Semiconductor regarding a voltage-regulating technology. Taking swift action, Germany has banned Intel from selling some of its processors, and it’s not just the standalone components. Pre-built devices aren’t safe, either, with an injunction preventing the sale of any and all offending chips. Big offt.

R2 Semiconductor argues that Ice Lake, Tiger Lake, and Alder Lake architectures, plus the Xeon Scalable Ice Lake Server processors, infringe on its patents. As you can expect, Intel denies the claims and requests the German court to invalidate the patent. This may take some time, though, given how lengthy appeals processes can be.

Giving some harsh words of its own, Intel accuses R2 Semiconductor of being a patent troll, stating its “only business is litigation.” The two are already embroiled in a lawsuit in Europe, claiming that said patent was actually invalidated in the US. It doesn’t yet know the damages this lawsuit will cause, but rest assured that nothing will fall on Intel’s customers. Team Blue says it’ll cover any legal costs for those potentially caught in the crossfire.

This shouldn’t be a huge loss for the DIY segment. After all, these chips are already ageing, with the newest approaching two years old. System integrators such as Dell and HP may have a tough time of it, though. They still sell systems powered by these CPUs. Luckily for Intel, its 13th and 14th Gen processors are not concerned by this issue.

Following Tom’s Hardware’s coverage of this story, R2 Semiconductor promptly sent a statement regarding this situation that reads as follows:

“We are delighted that the highly respected German court has issued an injunction and unequivocally found that Intel has infringed R2’s patents for integrated voltage regulators. R2 has been a semiconductor IP developer, similar to ARM and Rambus, for more than 15 years. Intel is intimately familiar with R2’s business —in fact, the companies were in the final stages of an investment by Intel into R2 in 2015 when Intel unilaterally terminated the process.

“R2 had asked if a technical paper Intel had just published about their approach to their FIVR technology, which had begun shipping in their chips, was accurate. The next and final communication was from Intel’s patent counsel. That was when it became clear to me that Intel was using R2’s patented technology in their chips without attribution or compensation.

“That is how these lawsuits emerged, and Intel is the only entity R2 has ever accused of violating its patents. It is unsurprising but disappointing that Intel continues to peddle its false narratives rather than taking responsibility for its repeated and chronic infringement of our patents. We intend to enforce this injunction and protect our valuable intellectual property. The global patent system is here precisely for the purpose of protecting inventors like myself and R2 Semiconductor.”