Two Latest Developments in Our Patent Dispute with Samsung

by David Shannon

We said we’d keep you updated on the progress of our patent dispute against Samsung, so let me share with you several recent developments.

Let’s start with a quick recap.

Back in September, in the first IP lawsuit NVIDIA has initiated since our founding more than two decades ago, we sued Samsung and Qualcomm in the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court in Delaware for using our GPU patents without fairly compensating us. (See a fuller description of the cases here and here.)

Our case in the ITC is scheduled for hearing in late June 2015, and we got a positive sign earlier this month in a pretrial decision – known as a Markman ruling – in which the presiding judge ruled in favor of NVIDIA’s preferred construction of nearly all of the disputed language in our claims. In this case, we’re asking the U.S. to block imports of certain Galaxy phones and tablets – including Samsung’s newly shipping Galaxy S6 and Edge – into the U.S.

Samsung had subsequently sued us in the ITC, as well as in U.S. District Court in Virginia – known as the “rocket docket” for its very fast time to trial.

Two things have happened in recent days that are worth being aware of.

First, we have now countersued Samsung in the U.S. District Court in Virginia, citing four graphics patents beyond the seven cited in the ITC and Delaware cases. (The four patents are described in our latest filing here.) These newly asserted patents in our countersuit are scheduled to be decided at the same time as Samsung’s case against us.

And, second, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne has set a date of Jan. 11, 2016, for the trial to begin in Virginia. This will focus on Samsung’s asserted six patents against NVIDIA, and two patents against our customer Velocity Micro, as well as on our four patents asserted against Samsung.

NVIDIA has spent more than $9 billion in R&D since 1993 when we began to create what is now 7,000 patent assets comprising the richest portfolio of graphics IP in the world. Our IP strategy is to earn an appropriate return on our investment by licensing our graphics cores or by licensing our patents. Samsung’s unwillingness to negotiate forced us to go to the courts.

There will likely be more legal back and forth in the months ahead in these very important cases, and we’ll do our best to keep you informed.