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January 24, 2009

Fuddy Daddy

Advanced Micro Devices, playing David to Intel's Goliath, is struggling to stay afloat. AMD is preparing to spin off its manufacturing operations into a separate company, tentatively called the Foundry Company. AMD will then focus purely on designing processor chips. This past week, Intel sent a letter to AMD, requesting a meeting to air out whether AMD's plan would violate patent cross-licensing agreements between the two. One agreement was signed in 1976, the other in 2001.

FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. Spreading FUD is a rabbit punch corporate propaganda move to weaken a rival or otherwise gain competitive advantage.

Intel's Bruce Sewell (pictured) denies spreading FUD. The point of such FUD would be to confuse shareholders, having them vote against the spinoff, and damage AMD's corporate viability.

Under the proposed plan, AMD would take a 34.2% ownership stake in the spinoff, but have a 50% voting interest, an odd arrangement that Sewell views as a contortion to cast Foundry Company as a subsidiary. Busybody Sewell said that AMD "has been negotiating through nothing less than a minefield to set this up." No FUD there.

Sewell said Intel is not contending that AMD is breaching the agreements. Intel is merely wondering whether Foundry Company would be inheriting the patent licenses, or how exactly AMD thinks the licensing agreements cover both companies. As in, who could we sue? No FUD there.

Mr. Sewell has been a hyperactive member of the Coalition for Patent Fairness. Busy boy.

Posted by Patent Hawk at January 24, 2009 9:14 PM | Patents In Business


While it would seem that the term "Troll" is not quite applicable to Sewell and Intel, surely there is a term that could be used that has an appropriate and equally negative connotation to match what seems to be the tenor of Patent Hawk's post.

Or is Mr. Sewell actually wearing a white hat by being forthright by bringing his concerns to the light of day about the fine points of duties towards his firms IP before the deal is done, rather than wait for after the deal has been completed and then suing one or both "entities"?

Posted by: breadcrumbs at January 25, 2009 7:08 AM