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Intel threatens to pull patent plug on AMD

Intel Corp. last week threatened to terminate rights granted to rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. under a patent cross-licensing deal, claiming that AMD's recent spin-off of its chip manufacturing operations this month was a breach of the agreement.

Intel contended that the manufacturing joint venture with an investment firm owned by the Abu Dhabi government doesn't qualify as a subsidiary of AMD.

Harry Wolin, AMD's general counsel, disputed that claim and accused Intel of “trying to create churn in the marketplace.” He also said Intel's threat amounts to a breach of the licensing deal.

Mark Walters, a patent lawyer at Darby & Darby PC, said AMD may be exploiting a loophole by calling the spin-off a subsidiary. But neither he nor analysts expect the dispute to hamper production of AMD chips.

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