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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  • testbug00 - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    Sure, they're patents could be valid. The fees they asked for? Knowing Nvidia it was probably insanely high.

    Based on my estimates, (from: ARM would at most take something like 2 dollars on a $40 chip. assuming it used all ARM IP and an ARM layout. That's a high estimate for ARMv8. More likely it would be closer to 1.20-1.25 USD. That's for a high end SoC. Most SoCs are likely 20 dollars or less. So, 50 cents to a dollar goes to ARM. That's for a fully ARM designed chip.

    My guess is Nvidia is probably asking more for their GPU than ARM would for a whole chip including the ARM layout for the foundry and note you want.

    However, the could be partially due to wanting the court to lower that to a about market average fee instead of sub-market-value or something like that. Time will tell.
  • HighTech4US - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    Quote: Sure, they're patents could be valid. The fees they asked for? Knowing Nvidia it was probably insanely high.

    As the head AMD troll from the S|A site I realize that you would never ever read or research any facts regarding Nvidia so here is the actual wording from Nvidia's suit that puts you're biased FUD back where it belongs, in the dumpster where you found it.

    Quote: We are asking the courts to determine infringement of NVIDIA's GPU patents by all graphics architectures used in Samsung's mobile products and to establish their licensing value."
  • testbug00 - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    Nvidia is a company that makes a lot of money, partially because they are to aggressive at aiming for and achieving high margins. They tend to not make very many "friends" outside of companies that make their GPUs. Microsoft, Sony, countless tablet/phone OEMS... They used Nvidia a few times, than dropped them.

    For Microsoft and Sony, it surely had to do with cost for the same performance. Especially given how price sensitive the console market is. For phone/tablet OEMS... Given Nvidia's power and perfomance numbers are true, they must have priced their chips far to expensive. Given there chips were a price to other high end SoCs, they must have had bad support/power/performance/etc.

    Nvidia has a history of expensive pricing, I wouldn't be shocked if this is another case. As for "AMD troll" you're welcome to make statements like that. While I try to be objective as much as possible, I have a more positive view of how AMD interacts with consumers and buisness partners than Nvidia.

    However, where was AMD part of NVidia v. Samsung/Qualcomm? Perhaps you want to relate the sale of Adreno is 2009? /meh
  • Samus - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    My first commend would be "hindsight is a bitch" to Microsoft and Sony going with AMD because now that Maxwell is out, a PS4/XBOX One refresh with a more efficient\equal performance part would be tremendous (such as when Microsoft revised the Xenon/Jasper XBOX 360's)

    My second comment is NVidia would never sue AMD (or vice versa) because they have a bundled licensing agreement. The purpose of this condensed license is to prevent lawsuits because they essentially cover entire categories of patents, not specific patents themselves. It's ironic the Chinese government fined Qualcomm into a 1 BILLION settlement because the Chinese only believe in "a-la-cart" licensing, when it is well accepted to bundle patents throughout the world to prevent exactly what the Chinese government supposedly fined Qualcomm for.
  • testbug00 - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    You make it sound like either company wanted to work with Nvidia. That's the problem. Nvidia screwed Microsoft on shrinks and charging the same price for the original Xbox. Nvidia failed to deliver the performance at the price they promised Sony with the PS3.

    Maybe it's just me, but, if I had a one in 8-10 year design, I would want to make sure everything went right. Gamecube, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360. All ATI/AMD, all fine.

    Anyhow, what does this have to do with what I was saying 0.o?! Thanks :)
  • Samus - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    It just sounds like Nintendo knows how to negotiate a contract. And XBOX 360 was a disaster, it was inches from being the first recalled gaming console in history; 1 die shrink, 2 revisions, 3 years later and 40 watts of power reduction helped to resolve the same issues NVidia was blamed for just a few years prior with "Bumpgate" while Microsoft took all the flak.

    I'm not an NVidia fanboy (although I personally find it ridiculous to not consider a Maxwell card these days) but I am NOT a Samsung fan for dozens of reasons. They don't stand behind their products, and I have zero respect for companies like that. Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Apple, even HP Enterprise (with the very annoying exception of out-of-warranty BIOS updates) all stand behind their products. Samsung, Lenovo, Google, Logitech, to name a few, do not stand behind their products: slow to act on resolving customer complaints, denying warranty coverage for bogus reasons, discontinue software support for products often still sold and/or in-warranty, etc.

    So yes, for unrelated reasons, I am rooting for the company I know has a good track record of customer support and listening to customers, opposed to the company that I feel is complete opposite. As a (ex-) customer of Samsung I got nowhere with them, so perhaps billions in damages and legal pressure will signal a wake-up call for them to change their shit around.
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    You can't blame or praise AMD and NVIDIA by how their customers (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo) use their products.
  • testbug00 - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    On a side note, Nvidia sued them FOR NOT LICENSING their products. "NVIDIA’s claim notes that the company has been attempting to reach a license agreement with Samsung and Qualcomm since 2012, and that today’s suit is a result of their inability to come to an agreement over the last 2 years." (

    Nvidia either offered a (multiple?) costs to license their Kepler GPU and/or patents. They couldn't come to an agreement. You don't go into these things say "how much do you think is fair to pay" unless you have a weak position. I believe Nvidia thinks it has a strong position (correct or not) and hence would demand a large amount. Probably larger than they expected to get to make the other side feel like they "won" a concession. Simple negotiating tactics. =]
  • Samus - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    It is also believe (but not confirmed) that Intel (and thus Apple, who was at the center of the case) signed a GPU licensing agreement after the 1.5 BILLION dollar settlement in 2011. The fact NVidia isn't going after Intel (or Apple) lends further weight to those license rumors...
  • testbug00 - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    They signed an agreement for cross-license for ALL of Nvidia's graphics patents at the time of signing. And some of Intel's patents also to Nvidia.

    They didn't license the 7 patents in this case specifically. Intel still should be covered by that license.

    And, as for other companies. Just because they're only sueing 2 publically doesn't mean they're going after others. If they aren't going after Imagination Tech, Apple, and any sizable company that uses MALI GPUs, I would be shocked. They might not be sueing them yet, but, certainly have or are in some form of (cross)-licensing talks.

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