NVIDIA to Ask ITC to Review Initial Determination on Samsung Patent Infringement Case

by David Shannon

We said we would keep you informed of new developments in our cases with Samsung.

In the latest step of our efforts to protect NVIDIA’s intellectual property, an administrative law judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled today that Samsung and Qualcomm did not violate U.S. law with respect to importing certain Samsung products into the U.S.

Judge Thomas Pender issued an initial determination that Samsung and Qualcomm didn’t infringe two NVIDIA patents, and that both did infringe a third patent but that this patent wasn’t valid.

This initial determination is one more step in a long legal process.

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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

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  • 12John34

    Good luck with that. Samsung was making chips for decades before Nvidia was even a thought in someone’s mind. It is like someone today suing Beethoven for stealing his music.

  • ConceptVBS

    Nvidia is just jealous of Samsung’s cash pile.

    If you cant beat them, sue them. – Nvidia.

    Stop being another Apple.

  • john max

    I thought Nvidia had sued Samsung for violating 7 patents. Any update on the other 4?

  • nobodyspecial

    Uh, making chips, and making chips that put GRAPHICS up on a screen are two totally different things. Mobile is now doing (in the last 5yrs or so) stuff Pc’s have patented a good 15yrs ago. I’m not aware of any way Samsung could have a patent on a gpu they never were using up until the last 5yrs. Note the patents in question were all from 1999-2001 (the 7 in the case here).

    Your analogy is ridiculous. If Beethoven made the music years ago, long before some guy suing him today, how could he have infringed on a guy making music today? In your instance beethoven should be suing the guy today as he would be the ORIGINAL producer of the product just like Nvidia is here with patents from 1999-2001 that only now are mobile infringing (well since about 2010-2011 they’ve been doing it, NV tried to license stuff to them for 2yrs before filing suit).

    You are acting like samsung has been making GPUS before 5yrs ago. Please name a vid card they made in the last 15yrs, or any other device for gaming?

    See the point? Qcom made their modems ages ago, and if you try to make a modem today, you pretty much owe them money for each one made. Why do you think NV bought Icera? You do this kind of stuff to either lessen the bill (for lics) or produce it in a way that is different from the originator. I think this judge was paid off to avoid bans, but that won’t win a civil suit in front of a JURY which is what NV has filed to do in the end. The ITC deal would be nice (instant ban, quick pain, still no word on the other 4 patents though), but civil is all I want as a shareholder and vid card buyer. That money will be spent on new gpu tech for decades. It’s comic Intel couldn’t get out of it at 1.5B over 6yrs, but somehow this judge thinks samsung (who never produced a vid card, unlike Intel, who also had larrabee tech, producing gpus for years integrated etc) is not required to pay up for the same tech. I smell a payoff, but again that won’t help in front of a 12 person AMERICAN jury who will see the obvious (big company making billions off this stuff stealing small american company IP in this business directly for 2 decades).

    How can you NOT be infringing on Nvidia/AMD/Intel (take your pick) if making a gpu today? It’s pretty much impossible as they have been the only ones in the business for 15-20yrs. IMG.L might have a leg to stand on (use to make Kyro) but not sure if even they had any patents to save apple. GPU tech is literally all Nvidia has been doing for the last 20yrs. When did samsung start? 😉

    It’s also odd he says 3rd patent is invalid due to the tech being covered in other patents, but Nvidia got the patent 15yrs ago. If that is true how did they get the patent from USPTO? If true anyway, who owns the original then? Surely they sue then over that one patent…LOL. Either way, Nvidia/AMD/Intel own pretty much most of the gpu patents out there or bought the companies that did own the rest over the last 20yrs as they all went under (google list of defunct gpu companies, the graveyard list is long). Odd this same judge ruled in favor of 6/7 early on (markman hearing), but now claims exact opposite (hmm, got his check cashed?). A Jury won’t care about ban issues, they’ll be interested in the check amount only. ITC is political in many cases (you can buy a judge), but jury are not and everyone has been stealing american stuff lately and it’s well known (see china, russia etc). This is why Apple was left out (american) until samsung JURY verdict is in to be used against apple later. That jury will also hear INTEL lost 1.5B to Nvidia for the same crap that mobile is now using. The ban from ITC would be nice, but civil/jury is where the money comes.

  • nobodyspecial

    NO, apple sues claiming they created crap like rounded corners on laptops (which everyone has had for ages), while NV is suing over gpu tech mobile is JUST starting to use (created 15yrs ago), including actually running PC ports now etc. Anandtech didn’t call it the wild west of patent infringement for nothing (Anand himself said this regarding mobile/gpu).

    Can you name some Samsung gpu products before mobile? Nvidia has 7000+ gpu patents. How many do you think samsung has? 🙂 I’ll remind you samsung doesn’t even make the gpus in question here (supposedly working on one, but been saying that for a few years and might be realizing they’d be nailed by patents), they are just selling infringing products with them (qcom/imagination gpus really). Are you aware of the fact that if you’re device has qcom modem tech in it they get a % of the ENTIRE unit (phone or tablet) AND the modem price on top if it is their own modem/soc? Are you aware MSFT gets ~$4 from each unit sold by samsung having android even though they don’t make anything IN the phone or IN android (a little over a billion a year paid to MSFT, and this year they’re late and in court over it…LOL)? Meaning microsoft gets a $4 lic fee (roughly) even though it is google that makes the OS on the phone or tablet (so end product is nailed here). Meaning Qcom gets a % of the entire device if their patented modem tech is used in another device even if they don’t make the soc themselves (again, end user product nailed here, not the company making the soc).

    In front of a Jury common sense says no matter who makes the soc NV should get a portion of money from the device maker, just like qcom/microsoft get. I tend to think this is more to stop qcom gpus from ending up anywhere, not to stop samsung. It is an effort to get samsung to use NV gpus and probably a swap for fab time instead of a huge fine, or maybe smaller fine over time like Intel+fab priority for socs/gpus etc. This is also far worse than Intel’s case which was NOT willful infringement (for ~3yrs now), as NV tried licensing their tech to samsung long ago to avoid this. Intel only ended up infringing due to breaking the agreement over chipsets. Once that was broken the deal over gpus was off. Here samsung was told, and they blew it off for years continuing with their behavior (willful). The jury sting here will be much worse than an intel verdict. Samsung’s profits are $20-30B a year the last few years, while Nvidia (who has never sued anyone before, unlike Apple…ROFL) makes less than 300mil if you remove Intel’s payments. Qcom pulls down 6B from modems/socs/lics. None of these people in mobile have near the patents even Intel does on GPU related tech. So while the ITC may not want to go down a ban road (which it would have to if they say this is infringement), a jury has no interest in politics that would stop ITC crap. You’re acting as if samsung has 7000 gpu patents and has been making gaming crap for a decade or two. They have NOT.

    This is not sue happy apple going after everyone for basically crap patents with MUCH prior art for all of them out there. Apple patents things that people just never bothered to because so much prior art was out there it was thought you couldn’t get a patent for crap like ROUNDED CORNERS. But USPTO let them do it, and it’s really gotten out of hand in the last 5yrs. These patents are from a different time when patents actually meant something (15yrs ago!). These people are not putting graphics on your screen in some radically different way than has been going on for the last 15yrs on desktops/laptops. You really can’t put a game on the screen these days without trampling NV/AMD/Intel (possibly a few others) patents. I suspect there is a very good reason Qcom won’t show their gpu tech to anyone (anandtech has been trying to get info for years for example), but court should get that info. Apparently not yet in this case, as qcom wasn’t discussed here and only 3 of the 7 patents from the markman hearing are even mentioned as it is. The only question is who gets the bigger bill? The chip maker, or the end unit device maker (or both?)? In Qcom/MSFT’s tech cases, both ding the device makers (not soc makers or google for their OS).

    This could take years, but someone will be paying NV and at some point probably AMD and Intel though AMD can’t afford it until NV makes the case first. Intel may not have much to fight over seeing as they lost to NV already, and still haven’t proven they can come up with their own tech to get them out of getting dinged again in 2017 or so. Not sure where IMG.L will end up in all of this, but at less than 60mil a year (last I checked) they certainly can’t afford a suit with anyone that takes years (that was roughly NV’s bill so far already).

  • 12John34

    Samsung is making chips decades before Nvidia was founded. GPUs are computer chips, are they not. And they are not the only company that was creating chips decades before Nvidia. So, you think Nvidia’s products don’t use patents from others in their final form? In the way they are designed to be manufactured, to do some simple things before doing the GPU stuff? You might have in your mind the GPU as a GPU but don’t forget that GPUs are first of all computer chips. Not everyone reacts as a patent troll. If they where, half the population of the planet would have been lawyers.

    I like how you think an American judge is payed to go against an American company favoring a Korean company. I like even more how you hope 12 AMERICAN juries to just ignore everything else and just come to a final decision that will favor the AMERICAN company Nvidia. AMERICAN justice in it’s finest? Maybe we should call it JusticeWorks?

    Nvidia is fighting for a future where everything will be proprietary and locked, everyone will be paying them for every time they starts a system with a screen and no other company will be able to enter that market. If you can’t see that this is bad, then what can I say. And you should also consider one more possibility. If Samsung loses, they will just buy AMD for peanuts, keep the patents, and throw the rest of the company and it’s almost 10000 employees to unemployment. Do you still want Nvidia to win?


  • danglingparticiple


  • domahman

    so, is intel’s patent free now?

  • 12John34

    At SemiAccurate they say that those other four patents where redraw by Nvidia, but that site and the person that runs it, it is 200% antiNvidia, so you can’t take for granted that this info is accurate. But I haven’t found info for those four patents elsewhere, so you can consider it a possibility. So repeating what SA was saying, from the 7 patents, 4 where redraw, 1 was invalid, 2 where said that Samsung is not infringing on them. This is like shooting 7 balls on a basket and managing a 0/7.