In a quick update to the ongoing legal saga between NVIDIA, Samsung, and Qualcomm over the future of GPU patents and licensing, NVIDIA has published an update on the case after their most recent hearing.

As is now common for patent infringement lawsuits, a pre-trial Markman hearing was held by the judge overseeing the case in order to better determine the language of the patents, the actual legal claims, and how they will be interpreted by the judge at trial. The purpose of a Markman hearing is essentially to hammer out legal definitions ahead of time so that the case is argued and decided on facts and merits as opposed to arguing the definition of various terms and technologies.

In what NVIDIA calls a “favorable ruling” from the ITC, NVIDIA has received what they consider to be favorable definitions in 6 of their 7 disputed claims. To be clear this is not any kind of ruling on the validity of the claims themselves, but only that the court has (largely) sided with NVIDIA’s definitions for those 6 claims.

As for the importance of this pre-trial hearing, as NVIDIA is the plaintiff in this case, doing well at the Markman hearing is essentially one of the several hurdles they have needed to clear to bring the case to a full trial. Alongside various pre-trial motions to have the case outright dismissed, a poor Markman hearing outcome can stop a case as it would have put NVIDIA on the back foot in the full trial. This latest ruling essentially means the case wil proceed as planned, with the next hearing scheduled for June.

Finally, NVIDIA also posted a quick update on Samsung’s counter-suit against NVIDIA and Velocity Micro. The judge in that case has denied NVIDIA’s request to have the case moved from Virginia (Velocity Micro’s home state) to California (NVIDIA’s home state).

Source: NVIDIA

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  • Shahnewaz - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    Source: Nvidia
    Oh come on!
    Guess I have to find a report from someone not involved in this lawsuit.
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    The entire ruling is available on NVIDIA's site, and is consistent with NVIDIA's claims of a "favorable ruling". Plus it's a pre-trial hearing, so there wasn't anyone sitting in on this to report it. The real fireworks don't start until the full trial starts.
  • lilmoe - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    I guess that means no 14nm for NVidia.

    Jokes aside, I'm not sure why they're going after Samsung in the first place and not after ARM...
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    Short answer is because they need to sue the manufacturer and work up from there. Otherwise ARM would likely have the case dismissed on account of the fact that they don't actually make any of the infringing hardware.

    In fact a big component of the case will be who is responsible for infringement. Samsung (who makes the phones), Qualcomm (who makes the chips), or other parties who make the IP.
  • vladx - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    I think Nvidia will use TSMC's 16nm not Samsung/GF 14 nm if I'm not mistaken. So I doubt Nvidia will care about that, that's why they targeted Samsung and not Apple which would have big leverage over Nvidia.

    Good luck Nvidia, hope you'll win!
  • Samus - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    What's really bogus is Samsung's "counter-suit" is stationed in Velocity Micro's district instead of NVidia's (even though VM is not the primary target) because Samsung wanted it that way just to inconvenience NVidia further.

    Huge dick move by Samsung getting VM involved in the first place, and even huger dick move making NVidia fly their legal team across the country countless times throughout the trial.
  • looncraz - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    Tactics, tactics, tactics.

    The more difficult you can make things for the opposing party the better. The more exhausted they become, the more irritated they become, the more expensive it is for them, the better.

    Smart move on their part. If at any time you can get a favorable venue, you should elect to do so.
  • Samus - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    I agree, but neither venue is favorable to Samsung. However, I guess California is "less" favorable given Samsungs' experience there.
  • shm224 - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    What makes you think Apple is immune from nVidia's lawsuit? It's much easier to score a victory against a foreign company first -- they are less likely to win in a jury trial -- than to go head to head against another domestic company.
  • shm224 - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    @samus : it's called secondary liability. That's also why nVidia doesn't have to go after another American company like Qualcomm and has chosen to go after the customer of Qualcomm.

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