Intel is one of the few companies that hasn't slowed down on sponsoring immigration applications for skilled foreign workers.
A nonprofit corporation owned by the University of New Mexico's board of regents has filed a federal lawsuit against Intel Corp., claiming the computer chip manufacturing giant infringed on a university patent that helps in the production of advanced chips.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Albuquerque by the university's technology transfer division, alleges Intel used the technology without a license.
The dispute centers on what's known as "double patterning lithography technology," which UNM patented in 2000.
STC.UNM president and chief executive Lisa Kuuttila, who oversees the university's technology transfer division, said research developed by the university has helped the semiconductor industry build circuits that feature smaller and faster semiconductors.
She called the research a "key solution" to industry problems associated with tiny circuits.
"We believe this technology is really necessary as semiconductor companies go to smaller and smaller feature sizes," Kuuttila said. "That's why the industry is very interested in the work conducted by our researchers. Smaller is better."
The university, which is seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit, holds licenses for the technology with Toshiba, NEC/Renesas, Samsung, Hynix and TSMC. Kuuttila said UNM developed the research during the 1990s and the patent expires in 2012.
"It's a good example of how long it really takes for many university inventions to become commercially viable and needed by an industry," she said.
STC.UNM seeks to link the university's research to the marketplace, protect intellectual property and help companies seeking access to UNM's research, facilities and expertise.