NVIDIA sues Qualcomm and Samsung over GPU patents, seeks U.S. sales ban against certain devices

NVIDIA sues Qualcomm and Samsung over GPU patents, seeks U.S. sales ban against certain devices
NVIDIA is suing Qualcomm and Samsung, in a case that is taking place at the ITC, and the U.S. District Court in Delaware. Seven patent infringement complaints have been filed by NVIDIA against the two tech firms, because of Samsung's refusal to pay for the right to use patented NVIDIA technology on its devices.

Besides seeking financial reimbursement for its alleged damages, NVIDIA seeks a ban in the U.S. of all Samsung devices that employ Qualcomm's Adreno graphic processor, ARM's Mali GPU, or Power VR's graphics design. According to NVIDIA, all of the GPUs named are using intellectual property patented by NVIDIA, without any compensation. Two of the devices that could be banned, are the just announced Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge.

NVIDIA says that it had initiated talks with Samsung in an effort to work out a licensing agreement. During the licensing talks, NVIDIA "demonstrated how our patents apply to all of their mobile devices and to all the graphics architectures they use." Despite the apparent urgency of the talks on the part of NVIDIA, Samsung failed to budge. The manufacturer claimed that it was its suppliers' problem, which in this case is Qualcomm, ARM and Imagination. Samsung's defense is to put the blame on the company that provided it with the infringing technology. That would explain NVIDIA's inclusion of Qualcomm in the lawsuit.

The suit, filed Thursday afternoon at the U.S. District Court in Delaware, does not mention ARM or Imagination even though NVIDIA does mention them in its filings seeking the sales ban. Samsung and Qualcomm have yet to respond to the suit. Out of 7000 patents owned by NVIDIA, the latter has selected only seven of them for its suit against Samsung and Qualcomm..


source: NVIDIA via TechRadar

UPDATE: On Friday morning in Korea, Samsung said that it will "take all measures necessary" against NVIDIA. Samsung did not hint at what those actions might entail.

source: Reuters

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46 Comments

1. engineer-1701d unregistered

take a page out of apples playbook , what patent and why now and not years ago

9. vincelongman

Posts: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Qualcomm’s Adreno was own by AMD before, maybe AMD had similar patents to protect Adreno Also why just block just Samsung devices, shouldn't Nvidia be going after the GPU makers, Qualcomm/ARM/Imagination This seems like a bad move from a consumer's perspective, "contain Qualcomm’s Adreno, ARM’s Mali or Imagination’s PowerVR graphics...", that's basically every mobile GPU on the market

11. jeeta444

Posts: 154; Member since: Mar 24, 2014

Nvidia knows samsung and qualcomm had made biggest profit compared to other oems.but why not apple ???

19. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2487; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

After reading through the press release from nVidia as well as the complaint briefs, it seems as though the reason this is being brought up is because Samsung refused to pay nVidia for the license to use it's patents. It seems as though, at least from what nVidia is making it sound like, other companies such as HTC or LG have already paid nVidia for the patent usage. They are making it seem like this is Samsung trying to put it's foot down and not want to pay for something that other companies have paid for. Again, this is just what I'm reading from nVidia. Who knows what the real story is...

22. renz4

Posts: 319; Member since: Aug 10, 2013

it seems like so. i found this on anandtech: Which on that subject, as part of their claims NVIDIA also points out their existing license agreement with Intel. In this NVIDIA notes that their Intel agreement covers all SoCs and CPUs shipped by Intel, including those incorporating Imagination’s PowerVR GPUs. So in the case where the SoC integrator is responsible, their licensing agreements would seem to cover any infringement regardless of who designs the infringing GPU. http://www.anandtech.com/show/8492/nvidia-files-patent-infringement-complaints-against-qualcomm-samsung

24. xfire99

Posts: 1207; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

It started already at 2012 and Qualcomm/Samsung have refused to pay Nvidia for using its patents and now Nvidia are suing them.

29. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

is it Samsung's fault if qualcomm, ArM or any other infringed a patent? thats rubbish, laws and patents are totally a broken system.... why not nvidia catches the original criminal? like qualcomm and ARM... I like and support the reply of samsung...

2. Sam4Note

Posts: 8; Member since: Sep 04, 2014

Why Samsung? I'm sure there are lots of devices using Qualcomm's Adreno....

7. jeeta444

Posts: 154; Member since: Mar 24, 2014

Because of exynos crap.

34. kamejoko

Posts: 253; Member since: Nov 10, 2011

remember ss only sell in u.s with snapdragon inside, not exynos in u.s.

10. vincelongman

Posts: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

"containing Qualcomm’s Adreno, ARM’s Mali or Imagination’s PowerVR graphics architectures" That's basically all the smartphones/tablets GPUs

3. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

wondering what IP they believe has been infringed, hopefully gets sorted soon, no body except for lawyers are keen to see more lawsuits/bans/counter claims.

4. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

How many companies have sued samsung lately besides apple and microsoft?

30. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

very few

36. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

MS had an existing agreement with samsung that samsung themselves not only paid but then refused to pay. That is entirely different than apple/nvidia going after them at this time.

5. JC557

Posts: 1925; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

"NVIDIA claims at least seven of its patents are being stepped on, covering such concepts as: - The entire concept of the GPU, or a dedicated graphics processing chip - Programmable shading - Unified shading - Multithreaded processing on a GPU" (viahttp://techcrunch.com/2014/09/... If anything, AMD/ATI, Matrox, SIIG and plenty of others (Including Intel) were at the graphics game for just as long or even longer than nVidia. Of course since nVidia does own most of 3dFX's properties they'll still go through with this despite prior anything. After what nVidia has done to their previous Tegra line (lack of support) I refuse to support anything they come up with in the mobile and now desktop sectors.

27. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Who are you going to turn to for desktop gpus, Ati ?

28. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

It's called AMD :) they have good VGAs

31. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

I have seen in reveiws that GPUs of AMD are performing better than nvidia

43. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

good luck for PhysX support and drivers!

6. AlikMalix unregistered

Trying to sue and ban Samsung - get in line...

14. Python212

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 13, 2014

Yeah get in the patent troll only line behind Apple, Nvidia!

8. Andrewtst

Posts: 697; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Nvidia you no business, no people want to use your lousy processor, now you sue them of pattern. What a pathetic company.

12. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Look like I wouldn't be buying any more New Nvidia graphic card and devices. I HATE patent troll.

16. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

to be fair, while I hate this whole patent/sue thing, if Nvidia offered a licensing solution, they already tried to mend it with minimal issue, and while unless I'm mistaking, other times it is mostly software patents that get trolled, in this case it is about architecture of the chip, and that is something nvidia engineers build, if they have taken part of that architecture and used, then nvidia should get a licensing fee. That said, if this is a case that is another vague patent, trying to grab money from people move, then nvidia is trying to do like apple, which is sad. But as yeah, depends on what it turns out to be about. If what #5 said is right then its just plain sad.

42. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

These are real patents being infringed upon, not rectangles with rounded corners. Other companies are paying their dues, it's Samsung turn.

13. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Nvidia has really been struggling to make it into the big time, tbeir last mass-produced Tegra was like....... From the original Nexus 7.....wow, that's a long time ago. MiPad doesn't count because it is still scarcely available. If you can't win designs.... Sue them, lol

17. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well the big companies probably have long term contracts with Qualcomm, that last what 5 or more years, and since they bring new products each year, it would require a contract change to switch to nvidia and K1 seems to be perking some ears so to speak, if nvidia keeps improving their mobile design then I think the switch will happen eventually.

20. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

They are pretty horrible at managing thermal / power efficiency in their SoCs. In smartphones, that is a HUGE liability.............now you have to wonder why OEM smartphone makers continue to avoid this chip. It's not about contracts, it's who can deliver the best deal (of course factor - in the dollar / performance thingy as well) and Nvidia chips are known for their high manufacturing cost and selling price

25. vincelongman

Posts: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Like I said to you previously, the K1 doesn't have any issue with thermal / power efficiency Its on par with the Snapdragons and Apple's A7 The main reason is probably your second point Nvidia is probably charging more, probably since their K1 is outperforming its current competition by a long shot

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