Nvidia, Samsung Settle Patent Disputes

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2016-05-04 Print this article Print
patent dispute

After almost two years of litigation, Nvidia and Samsung have settled their legal dispute over patents in the United States.

The two companies announced earlier this week that all the pending litigation in U.S. courts, with the U.S. Patent Office and with the International Trade Commission (ITC) has ended. The settlement comes almost three months after Nvidia got a much-needed victory when a federal jury ruled that the graphics chip maker did not infringe on a Samsung Electronics patent.

It also came the same day that the ITC was scheduled to decide whether it would ban Nvidia products from being sold in the United States. The settlement May 2 made that decision unnecessary.

Both companies issued statements from officials announcing the settlement, but offering little detail. Nvidia officials said the agreement includes the two vendors licensing "a small number of patents by each company to the other, but no broad cross-licensing of patents or other compensation."

In their own statement, Samsung officials said they were "happy to resolve this dispute through a fair settlement."

The agreement settles a case that began in 2014 and centered on memory chips that Nvidia officials had said were developed by its own engineers. However, Samsung officials claimed that Nvidia illegally used technologies found in Samsung's own memory products. Samsung in 2014 filed a lawsuit against Nvidia that cited four patents, but eventually the dispute centered on only one. Samsung earlier had dropped one and two more were thrown out after the judge declared a mistrial.

The lawsuits were filed after Nvidia and Samsung had negotiated licensing issues for two years before the talks broke down. Initially, Nvidia in September 2014 sued both Samsung and Qualcomm, accusing the companies of violating multiple patents regarding Nvidia's GPU technologies. Nvidia officials asked the U.S. government to ban shipments of Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and tablets that were powered by GPUs from Qualcomm, ARM or Imagination Technologies.

Samsung soon after filed its own lawsuit against Nvidia, asking federal regulators to block the sale of Nvidia GPUs in the United States.

The ITC in 2015 decided in favor of Samsung, ruling that the giant tech vendor had not violated Nvidia's patents, and followed that up later by saying that Nvidia had infringed on three Samsung patents. Nvidia appealed both decisions. However, it was on the second ruling that the ITC was scheduled to decide whether to block Nvidia from importing some of its products from the United States.


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