A small group of PC owners have filed a lawsuit against Intel, Gateway, and Hewlett-Packard, alleging that the companies misled them into believing the Pentium 4 was a superior processor to Intel's own Pentium III and AMD's Athlon.

At Macworld Expo New York Apple CEO Steve Jobs hinted that Apple may switch from its IBM Power PC processor to Intel chips.

The lawsuit – Neubauer et al versus Intel et al – was filed on June 3 in the Third Judicial Circuit in Madison County, Illinois. The case awaiting a ruling on whether it belongs in a state or federal jurisdiction, and has not yet achieved class-action status.

The plaintiffs claim the companies deceived the public when marketing Intel's flagship processor, and allege that it is "the material fact that there is no benefit to consumers in choosing the Pentium 4 over the Pentium III". The complaint alleges that "the Pentium 4 is less powerful and slower than the Pentium III and/or the AMD Athlon".

The complaint specifies that each plaintiff is entitled to actual damages, compensation and punitive damages, and that complaint also notes that the cumulative total would be less than $75,000 each.

Attorneys Stephen Tillery and Aaron Zigler of the law firm Carr Korein Tillery in St. Louis, Missouri, filed the complaint on behalf of five plaintiffs. The firm declines to comment about the case, but Zigler confirms the June 3 filing.

Intel and Gateway executives also decline to comment on the complaint, citing company policies regarding ongoing litigation. HP did not return calls seeking comment.