The patents involved cover microprocessor functionality in the above mentioned products, Via said, singling out U.S. Patent No. 6253312, "method and apparatus for double operand load," and U.S. Patents Nos. 6253311 and 6754810, "instruction set for bi-directional conversion and transfer of integer and floating point data."
Taiwan-based Via bills itself as "a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms." Today's patent complaint was filed with the United States International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court of Delaware.
"Via has built up an extensive IP portfolio consisting of over 5,000 patents as a result of significant investments in...research and development," Via CEO Wenchi Chen said in the statement. "We are determined to protect our interests and the interests of our stockholders when our patents are infringed upon."
Apple did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment by publication time.
This is the latest legal salvo aimed at Apple in recent months, the company is currently involved in a patent spat with Samsung over Apple's iOS devices. The struggle includes lawsuits in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia, and South Korea and has led to a temporary ban on Samsung selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Germany.
Patents, of course, have long provided a busy battleground for tech companies, which seek to file as many patent claims as possible, to protect themselves from suits as well as come out stronger in settlements.