Nvidia hit with patent infringement lawsuit

Whose Ball Grid Array is it anyway?

Nvidia has been accused of patent infringement. Minneapolis-based Scanner Technologies claims it owns techniques that the GPU maker uses in the manufacture of ball grid array (BGA) chip-pin layouts without its permission. It said the alleged infringement was "willful and deliberate".

Scanner said yesterday it has filed a complaint with the the US District Court of Eastern Texas. The lawsuit's based on its US patents 7,079,678 and 7,085,411. The former details an three-dimensional inspection of a newly manufactured chip's BGA pin layout, while the latter describes a way of manufacturing BGA chips.

The two patents were filed in February 2005 and awarded, respectively, in July and August this year. Scanner has BGA-related patents stretching back to February 1995, though these are not named in the lawsuit.

Both techniques are not only used by Nvidia, Scanner alleged, but the chip maker also provided the technique to other manufacturers - again without Scanner's permission, according to the lawsuit.

In addition to requesting preliminary and permanent injunctions, the lawsuit asks the court to award Scanner all damages it is entitled to recover, including royalties on infringing products, treble damages and lawyers’ fees.

Nvidia has yet to respond to Scanner's allegations. ®

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