US trade watchdog rules Sammy, Qualcomm DIDN'T infringe Nvidia's IP in patent WAR

Blow for graphics chip maker as it demands answers from ITC

Nvidia has suffered a major setback in its patent case against Samsung and Qualcomm, after a US regulator – in a preliminary decision – cleared the companies of any wrongdoing.

On Friday, graphics chip maker Nvidia said that it would seek a full review from the International Trade Commission, in light of the ruling.

The ITC's Judge Thomas Pender dismissed claims that Korean eletronics giant Sammy and semiconductor and wireless outfit Qualcomm had infringed two of Nvidia's patents. He found that the firms had violated a third patent, but the beak said it was invalid.

Nvidia's spokesman David Shannon said in a blog post:

We now intend to ask the full commission (which is made up of six commissioners) to review this initial determination and to confirm the previous judgment of the US Patent Office – that the third patent is valid.

If they agree, the ITC would issue an order that would preclude Samsung from importing into the US infringing Samsung mobile devices and smart TVs.

We are continuing this case by proceeding to the next step in the process because we believe our patents are valid and have been infringed.

Nvidia lobbed a patent sueball at Samsung and Qualcomm in September 2014. Sammy then counter-sued just weeks later.

The chip vendor claimed at the time that that the graphics coprocessors found in Samsung mobile phones infringed on seven of its patents – no matter whether the GPUs in question were based on ARM's Mali, Imagination Technologies' PowerVR, or Qualcomm's Adreno technology.

Arm and Imagination were not, however, named as defendants in the lawsuit.

A final ITC decision about Samsung and Qualcomm's alleged violation of some Nvidia patents won't be revealed until February next year.

Samsung and Qualcomm could not immediately be reached for comment at time of writing. ®


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