Samsung Cleared of nVidia's Patent Infringement Allegations in Court

By Published October 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

NVidia recently filed a complaint against Qualcomm and Samsung with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC). NVidia has also filed a suit against Samsung and Qualcomm. The GPU giant claims that Samsung and Qualcomm are infringing upon nVidia’s patents, specifically ones pertaining to GPU architecture and technologies. Despite the fact that nVidia is often better known for their desktop and high-performance GPUs, they have a significant presence in the supercomputing and mobile sectors. This makes the lawsuit very relevant as all three are significant players in the mobile sector.

This complaint and suit are due to alleged patent infringements in Samsung and Qualcomm’s graphics processors: the Exynos (Samsung) and Snapdragon (Qualcomm).

The ITC also can stop the importation of chips allegedly violating the patents, namely of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors and Samsung’s Exynos processors. These chips are used in several of Samsung’s phones and tablets, along with other phones on the market. Preventing their import, along with the devices that use them, would be significant since it would affect both Samsung and Qualcomm, who are both major players in the mobile sector. Had nVidia’s complaint been deemed valid, not only could the ITC stop the importation of these chips and the products they use, but they could have forced Samsung and Qualcomm to pay damages to nVidia.

On October 9th, an ITC judge ruled that Samsung didn’t infringe upon two of nVidia’s patents, but did infringe upon a third. That patent, though, was deemed invalid.

In a vague familiarity to Apple and Samsung’s seemingly endless patent suits, Samsung also filed complaints and a suit against nVidia in the fall of 2014. Samsung claims that nVidia, along with nVidia customers Velocity Micro, had infringed upon Samsung’s patents. Samsung also included in the filing that nVidia had falsely advertised their Tegra K1 processor as “the world’s fastest mobile processor.” Samsung claims their Exynos 5433 processor is faster in some benchmarks. NVidia defended this claim on their blog, with their own benchmarks. Currently there is no ruling on Samsung’s complaint or case.

Despite the current ruling for nVidia’s ITC complaint, the situation may yet change. In February, the ruling will be reviewed by a full commission, which can change the decision or keep it as is. NVidia told Reuters that they remain confident in their case, and on nVidia’s blog, the company stated that this is just “ more step in a long legal process.” Samsung declined to comment.

Strictly in my opinion, based off the initial results, prospects of nVidia’s suit aren't looking too promising.

The lawsuits that both Samsung and nVidia have filed – separate from the ITC complaints – still remain and their outcomes also remain unknown.

- Michael "The Bear" Kerns.

Last modified on October 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm
Michael Kerns

Michael Kerns first found us when GN's Editor-in-Chief was tirelessly answering questions on reddit pertaining to a new product launch, likely after the Editor had stayed up all night writing the news post. Michael offered a tired Editor reprieve, taking over the role of questions-answerer-extraordinaire when it was most needed. These days, Michael can be found pulling his mechanical keyboard collection apart and building Frankenstein's Monster-like monsters of keyboards. Michael wrote the vast majority of our mechanical keyboard dictionary and is an expert in keyboards.

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