Toronto-based All Computers has filed a lawsuit against Intel, claiming that the chip maker's Pentium processors infringe on a 1996 patent it holds.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Alexandria, Vancover, seeks damages of more than half a billion dollars, according to a statement.

Founded in 1971 by Mers Kutt, All Computers holds a patent for the basic circuitry necessary for the operation of high-speed microprocessors, such as the Pentium processors, in PCs, the company said. All Computers claims that it pioneered the technology to make those computers process information more quickly.

"Our view is that at least the Pentium 2 and 3 and the chip sets used in conjunction with them infringe, as well as any computers that have been made utilizing that technology infringe," said All Computer's attorney, Edward O'Connor. "And anybody who uses these computers is infringing, so it's widespread and is a worldwide issue, because it's a pioneer patent. It's the basic circuitry that's needed for a high-speed processor to work."

All Computers said it contacted Intel and offered to license the patent, but Intel ignored the offer and continued to manufacture, use and sell its various products, including its line of Pentium processors, without license.

"Intel basically blew us off," said O'Connor, who added that the US$500 million figure was just an estimate based on All Computer's determination of Intel's sales of Pentium chips.

"Until we actually find out what their sales were, we won't be able to pin that figure down any better," O'Connor said.

Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said the company declined to comment because it hadn't yet analyzed the lawsuit.