The legal battle between Samsung and NVIDIA over GPU licensing has turned another page this week, with the announcement from the United States International Trade Commission that it is opening an investigation into NVIDIA and their partners based on complaints filed by Samsung. As outlined in Samsung’s original counter suit, Samsung accuses NVIDIA of violating several of their patents, and having taken these complaints to the ITC, the ITC is now investigating these patent infringement claims.

This is the latest in a series of legal actions by the two companies, and one of many to come in a process that will likely take years to resolve. At the time of their initial counter-suit against NVIDIA and partner Velocity Micro, Samsung indicated that they would be going to the ITC, so this week’s action in turn by the ITC has been expected. Broadly speaking ITC investigations are regular occurrences that do not require a high burden of proof, and in the meantime the ITC already has a similar investigation open against Samsung as per NVIDIA’s original complaint.

Meanwhile of particular note, the ITC’s investigation of NVIDIA will be casting a fairly wide net. Along with NVIDIA, the ITC investigation will also include NVIDIA partners such as EVGA, OUYA, Zotac, Biostar, and Sparkle. As one of the purposes of Samsung’s complaint is to get a ban on the importation of certain NVIDIA SoCs and GPUs, NVIDIA’s use of partners in product assembly and distribution means that those partners are similarly exposed and affected in legal battles such as these.

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  • Yojimbo - Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - link

    They tried for years to get a licensing agreement with Samsung. They aren't suing everybody + the dog, they are suing Samsung and their partners. A "patent troll" is a company which makes/designs no products but owns IP and sues a whole lot to make money off the IP portfolio. NVIDIA is a company which has been selling products for over 15 years that is now bringing their first patent infringement suit. They think other companies have copied their patented ideas and are using them without paying for them. If one has patents and doesn't defend them when one thinks others infringe on them, what's the sense of having them to begin with? How much of a case they really have, and whether they win or not remains to be seen.
  • Penti - Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - link

    Nope they didn't, they began pestering them about vague stuff August 2012, but some of the patents weren't mentioned until January 2014, and they wanted to be paid for Qualcomm's chips even though the court papers read like they never contacted Qualcomm at all but expected Samsung to be a go between. They keep referring to their 2011 Intel deal (originally a 2004 deal), but the patents weren't approved then (04) and they didn't seem aware of every patent they use against Samsung. They don't refer to their licensing deals with anybody else, or anything previous to 2011.
  • hpglow - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - link

    If Nvidia truly has these patents they should have never been granted to them. They didn't invent occlusion culling.
  • yannigr2 - Friday, December 26, 2014 - link

    You win a case, then sue the world+dog. You don't sue everybody in day 1. About contacting the others. Well that's what Nvidia is saying, not what it has really happened. And as Nvidia is a company that sells products for 15 years, Samsung is a company that sells products probably before Nvidia's CEO father has gone to school, and chips before Nvidia's CEO has finished the kindergarten.
  • eanazag - Tuesday, December 30, 2014 - link

    Intelligent response.
  • hpglow - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - link

    Plus power VR invented the tech that Nvidia is suing over. Differed rendering and occlusion culling. I had a card (power vr2) in the 90's that had both well before Nvidia created a card with it and patented tech they didn't create. Now that Imagination owns them they need to straighten Nvidia out. I buy Nvidia cards now and then but they are plain pulling an Apple here.
  • testbug00 - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - link

    specifically targeting one company that has lost quite a few patent cases against Apple, and, generally is seen as a loser in patent cases.

    The fact they claimed that the PowerVR line of chips that Apple has used for a long time was also at fault, and, well, didn't sue Apple or Imagination Technologies... Or any other companies that widely use Qualcomm chips.... Yeah. This looks like trolling or one kind or another.
  • melgross - Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - link

    Screw Samsung.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - link

    Samsung is such scum, throwing a smaller vendor like Velocity Micro under the bus just so they can jury shop. Whatever their fight with Nvidia is, picking a single PC builder to sue along with Nvidia has no purpose other than that.
  • darth415 - Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - link

    Samsung is doing that because Nvidia targeted them in a suit that should have been about Qualcomm. Samsung was basically targeted since they have money. Samsung struck back suing a random little guy is basically saying, we don't want your money, we want you to stop being an idiot. I would be perfectly fine with them suing for patents related to parallel multicore gpu technology like 15 years ago when other guys first started using it, it's groundbreaking, but suing now is patent trolling at it's finest.

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