This is an important day for NVIDIA. For the first time since starting this company 21 years ago, we have initiated a patent lawsuit.
This afternoon, we filed patent infringement complaints against Samsung and Qualcomm with both the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. District Court, in Delaware. You can see our press release here, and the complaints here and here.
We are asking the ITC to block shipments of Samsung Galaxy mobile phones and tablets containing Qualcomm’s Adreno, ARM’s Mali or Imagination’s PowerVR graphics architectures. We are also asking the Delaware court to award damages to us for the infringement of our patents.
Initiating action after negotiation
We have spent more than $9 billion in R&D since 1993 when we began to build the best GPUs and the richest patent portfolio of graphics IP in the world.
Our IP strategy is to earn an appropriate return on our investment by licensing our graphics cores and by licensing our patents. In each case, we start with a negotiation.
With Samsung, NVIDIA’s licensing team negotiated directly with Samsung on a patent portfolio license. We had several meetings where we demonstrated how our patents apply to all of their mobile devices and to all the graphics architectures they use.
We made no progress. Samsung repeatedly said that this was mostly their suppliers’ problem.
Without licensing NVIDIA’s patented GPU technology, Samsung and Qualcomm have chosen to deploy our IP without proper compensation to us. This is inconsistent with our strategy to earn an appropriate return on our investment.
We are now seeking the courts’ judgment to confirm the validity, infringement and value of our patents so that we can reach agreement with Samsung and its graphics suppliers.
Seven infringed patents
Our 7,000 issued and pending patents include inventions vital to modern computing. We have chosen seven of those patents to assert in these cases.
Those patents include our foundational invention, the GPU, which puts onto a single chip all the functions necessary to process graphics and light up screens; our invention of programmable shading, which allows non-experts to program sophisticated graphics; our invention of unified shaders, which allow every processing unit in the GPU to be used for different purposes; and our invention of multithreaded parallel processing in GPUs, which enables processing to occur concurrently on separate threads while accessing the same memory and other resources.
I will keep you updated on our progress in the cases as we move forward.