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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  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - link

    Must be nice to be able to read people's minds and know their exact motives.
  • Penti - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - link

    Most of these patents weren't dug up or in any way used before they began to go after Samsung/Qualcomm/ARM/ImgTec. Nvidia didn't disclose all patents in the suit for Samsung until January 2014, but made claims from August 2012 and onwards so they were hardly honest in wanting a deal. By 2012 these were old patents and consists of patents that probably hadn't been included in licensing deals. Samsung referred them to Qualcomm, but Nvidia according to it's filing never contacted Qualcomm themselves, or never notified them in any way before the suit. Some of the stuff were already disclosed before the filing (or priority date) of the patents. Where in some ways used by competitors. Some stuff are just the OpenGL pipeline that was already used in software. Plus the Intel deal really had nothing to do with these patents in the suit. Nvidia would hardly win a case that would mean the American firm Qualcomm can't deliver chips to the US market, giving the phone makers only the choice between Nvidia and Intel parts as they argue in their filing. The Intel deal weren't even in place when this market took off. Neither was any Intel or Nvidia parts available. Imagination and Qualcomm (ex-AMD tech) is GPU pioneers in their own right. It's not like it took them years to find out about their tech, they have been attending the same conferences and API standardization meetings and had opportunity to talk to them about licensing before Aug 2012 or Sep 2014 if these were more then bullshit patents they just dug up to pick a fight. Nvidia seeded the mobile market to these players as they weren't really around when the OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible stuff came. Imagination has been doing 3D gpus since 1996 or so. 2D stuff earlier than that. They knew AMD sold the z460/430 (Imageon) in 2008/09, that they made chips with integrated GPU's earlier than that. They knew Imagination and ARM where licensing GPU IP. And so on.
  • tviceman - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - link

    Of course I'm not highly informed with all the technical aspects of this lawsuit, but from the outside looking in I don't see how Samsung has much of a leg to stand on. Nvidia has been making GPU's longer than Samsung and Nvidia makes discrete GPU's which Samsung does not. I'm not really sure how much of a case Nvidia has over Samsung either, but I think Samsung has less of a leg to stand on than Nvidia.

    One thing is for sure; Nvidia is not scared to go after bigger companies. They successfully got Intel to settle a few years ago and I think that will likely end up being the case here.
  • Communism - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - link

    The entire legal system in the west is all about political connections and how much money you are willing to throw at corrupt officials.

    Samsung will win. Just like Apple won against Samsung.

    Nvidia lost the Intel suit. That's why Denver isn't x86.

    Nvidia should have paid more for election contributions if they wanted to win any of the court cases.

    Apple's win against Microsoft over "bundling" was also the result of Apple's superior political connections.
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - link

    Whereas YOUR legal system is totally honest, right? Because being run by the mob makes everything right.

    Seriously, there is no one more blind than a member of some other country accusing "the west" or some such of more corrupt practices than what goes on in their own country. Russia? China? Are you freakin kidding me? There is NO country in the East or Middle East than isn't more corrupt than the West.
  • Communism - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - link

    I live in the US you paid shill.
  • RandomThis - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - link

    Facebook like
  • elsydeon666 - Friday, December 26, 2014 - link

    Occlusion culling/HSR/whatever you call it, was done in 1974. Wikipedia knows all, and most of the "revolutionary new techniques" are 70's era stuff.
  • atlantico - Saturday, December 27, 2014 - link

    Screw nvidia.
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, December 27, 2014 - link

    And somewhere AMD executives are wishing for a Christmas miracle.

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