Sunday27 November 2022

Things just got interesting in the NVIDIA V Samsung Patent Battle

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Remember that little patent squabble that NVIDIA and Samsung got into last year? Well some things have happened and they are not all that good for NVIDIA. If you have already forgotten about this incident (we do not blame you) we will fill you in. NVIDIA decided to file a complaint with the ITC against Samsung and Qualcomm. The claim was that Samsung was using technology that violated patents that they owned (programmable shaders, parallel processing etc.). NVIDIA also filed a patent law suit at the same time.

Now at the time of the suit the move seemed to be an attempt to put a competitor in a bind. Samsung is a leading seller of mobile gear so they are a big block to NVIDIA’s own tech. A win from the ITC or in a US court can do wonders for putting a competitor on their heels. Apple has been using this strategy for years and with some success. The difference here is that Apple has a stockpile of patents (vague though they are) and lots of money to maintain a legal battle. NVIDIA does have a good deal of patents, but they are all very narrow focused. Samsung also has a vast array of patents to throw around in their defense and they cover a wide array of technologies. Samsung was able to respond with their own ITC complaint and law suit.

The ITC has looked at both complaints and has thrown out the patent claims from NVIDIA and upheld the ones from Samsung. This means that Samsung now has the upper hand. As both companies requested bans on the infringing products this could be an issue for NVIDIA. The patent that Samsung brought to the table covers how computer systems buffer data. This patent could have a very broad interpretation so it is likely to include more products than NVIDIA would like. Of course the ITC has not granted the ban that Samsung requested so it is not the end of the world for NVIDIA just yet. Samsung’s patent also runs out in 2016 so a ban would only run for a few months if one was allowed.

Still Samsung could take this ruling with them to court and ask for money they are owed on all of the “infringing” products sold by NVIDIA. This dollar amount would be a major hit to NVIDIA if Samsung were to win in court. All-in-all this is surely not turning out the way NVIDIA planned and things could get ugly very soon. When the new first broke about the original suit it was rather boring and seemed like it might be a stalemate… now that one side has had their horse taken out of the race things could be a lot more interesting.

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