Intel vs NEC: the case of the V20’s microcode

It’s about a legal battle between Intel and NEC in the 1980s over the microcode of the 8086 processor. But whilst it may be about events a long time ago, the themes are still familiar today. Whilst writing it, I couldn’t help but think about the ongoing lawsuit between Qualcomm and Arm. About how the future of both companies, and indeed others, including Intel, may be crucially affected by the results of a ruling on intellectual property protection.

The court case we’ll discuss today would also have important implications for Intel, the US semiconductor industry, its Japanese competitors and for intellectual property law in general.

Lawsuits. Lawsuits never change.