NVIDIA Comments on Samsung ITC Lawsuit

by David Shannon

You’ve seen this story before.

Back in September, we filed a patent lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Samsung and Qualcomm for using our GPU technology patents without compensation. Two months later, Samsung countersued us, dragging along for good measure Velocity Micro, a small customer of ours based in Virginia, who has nothing to do with this fight.

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When we submitted that lawsuit, we also filed a second case in the International Trade Commission, seeking to block Samsung from shipping into the U.S. Galaxy phones and tablets that improperly use our patents. Predictably enough, Samsung went to the ITC last month to countersue us there, too, dragging along a dozen other small partners of ours who also have nothing to do with this fight. Today, the ITC announced that, just as it will hear our case against Samsung, it will allow Samsung’s case against us to proceed.

This is typical legal ping pong. But amid the positioning, it’s important not to lose track of a few basic principles that guide our commitment to protect our IP.

First, over the past two decades, NVIDIA has invested more than $9 billion to create the world’s best visual computing technology portfolio, comprising 7,000 patents issued and pending. Despite several years of trying, our licensing team was repeatedly unable to obtain any compensation from Samsung for using our technology.

Second, we must earn an appropriate return on our investments. We are now seeking the courts’ judgment to confirm the infringement, validity and value of our patents so that we may be able to reach agreement with Samsung.

Third, Samsung’s cynical measure to blame our partners is unfair to these third parties and will create more negative fallout for the company. In the case of Velocity Micro, a small family business was named so that Samsung could attempt to get its case heard in the fast-moving local district court. As Velocity’s CEO wrote in a blog, “…(Samsung is) all too willing to throw a private company under the proverbial bus for their own strategic reasons. It’s simply wrong….” In Samsung’s new ITC case, a dozen other companies are named that also have nothing to do with Samsung’s use of NVIDIA’s IP.

Among all these cases, we still expect that the first to be decided will be our suit against Samsung in the ITC. And we look forward to that.

NVIDIA remains focused on ensuring that we receive fair compensation from Samsung for using our technology in Galaxy phones and tablets. We won’t allow ourselves to get sidetracked by the company’s attempts to intimidate our partners who have nothing to do with the unlicensed use of our IP. We look forward to the court setting this right.