Worcester, Mass. -- Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, charging Intel Corp with willful infringement of 10 Digital patents in making, using and selling microprocessor products, including its Pentium, Pentium Pro and Pentium II microprocessor families. Alleging that Intel's patent infringement has caused Digital economic injury and, if not stopped, would cause irreparable harm, the company seeks both an injunction and monetary damages, including triple damages. The injunction sought would prohibit Intel from using Digital's patented technology in its present and future microprocessor products. "Over the years, Digital has made substantial investments in developing computing architectures and microprocessor technology," said Digital chairman Robert B. Palmer. "It is our duty to our shareholders, customers, partners and employees to protect our intellectual property rights and the benefits of our industry-leading research and development efforts." Intel spokesman Howard High told HPCwire that the firm's attorneys were studying the matter and had no comment at this time. Grant Buckler reported in Newsbytes that Palmer said in a teleconference that his company discussed the possibility of licensing Alpha technology to Intel in 1990 and 1991. In the course of these confidential negotiations DEC revealed technical information about Alpha, Palmer said. However, Intel told Digital it was not interested. The Pentium was rolled out in 1993. "I remember being surprised by the quantum leap in performance that Intel achieved," Palmer noted during the press conference. Newsbytes reported that Palmer claimed the large performance gain in the Pentium Pro, launched in 1995, coupled with an article in The Wall Street Journal of August 26, 1996, made him suspicious. According to Newsbytes, the WSJ article cited Intel officials as saying the company had done little original microprocessor research up to that time, preferring to copy from existing technology developed by mainframe and minicomputer manufacturers. Palmer said he then asked Digital's legal counsel to study the technical and legal issues involved. The company ultimately concluded that all three existing versions of the Pentium use Alpha technology. Patents cited in Digital's lawsuit protect Digital's innovations in high-performance computing architecture and micro-processor technology. The patents relate to cache management, branch prediction and high-speed instruction processing. The patents were issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office between 1988 and 1996. "In developing its VAX and Alpha products, Digital significantly advanced computer architectures and microprocessor design," Palmer said in a news release. "Intel's unauthorized use of Digital's technology to significantly enhance the performance of its microprocessors violates Digital's legal rights. As a result of its infringement of our patents, Intel has strengthened its monopoly in the X86 market and is seeking to extend its monopoly to higher-performance microprocessors. This conduct threatens the competitive environment essential for continued innovation and growth in the computer industry." Thomas C. Siekman, Digital vice president and general counsel, said, "This lawsuit is essential to protect the billions of dollars Digital and its shareholders have invested in the development of leading-edge computing and microprocessor technology."