In this pre-litigation assessment, DisputeSoft was engaged by a computer chip manufacturer in 2017 to determine whether a patent infringement claim could be supported against a competing chip manufacturer (codenamed “Sasco”).

    DisputeSoft’s client, which owned multiple patents relating to CPU power management, suspected that Sasco would soon market a new CPU making use of the client’s patented power management capabilities. As Sasco’s hardware was not available for direct examination, DisputeSoft was engaged to review the source code for the latest version of the Linux kernel. The objective of this investigation was to determine whether Sasco had recently modified the Linux kernel, and if so, how such modifications reflected the power management capacities of Sasco’s chip.

    DisputeSoft began by reviewing its client’s patents to identify the claims most susceptible to potential infringement. Based on the claims they identified, DisputeSoft’s experts prepared a preliminary claim chart. To identify and understand the manner in which the Sasco chip handled power management, DisputeSoft downloaded, reviewed, and conducted code traces of the latest version of the Linux kernel and accompanying drivers. DisputeSoft supplemented its code review with in-depth research of the documentation for the Linux kernel and drivers.

    This investigation revealed that Sasco’s power management capabilities were likely handled in the firmware rather than in the operating system. As a result, the client decided to postpone further investigation until it could acquire and fully investigate Sasco’s firmware.

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