MicroUnity is suing Dell and Intel for infringing seven patents covering multi-media processing and computer architecture.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday in Texas, alleges that core features of Dell's computer systems and Intel's microprocessors infringe the patents. Infringing features include hyperthreading in Intel's latest chips and Dell's latest computer systems, and the Streaming SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) Extension (SSE) and SSE2 multimedia extensions to Intel microprocessors.

Neither Dell nor Intel was immediately able to comment, but the features mentioned in the lawsuit are included in both Pentium 3 and 4 processors. Dell has included it in a number of systems, from laptops to servers. MicroUnity is being represented by the lawyers that won $150 million out of Intel on behalf of Intergraph in 2002 - also for patent infringement. MicroUnity has not announced what damages it is seeking.

MicroUnity was set up in 1988. One of the founders, chief executive John Moussouris, was previously co-founder of MIPS Computer Systems, now known as MIPS Technologies. That company developed the MIPS (Microprocessor without interlocked pipeline stages) RISC microprocessor architecture.