Both companies are trying to get each other’s products banned
As companies faced with the prospect of having their products banned in the U.S. over a patent infringement complaint by an adversary are wont to do, Samsung has hit back at Nvidia with a sales ban request of its own. The world’s leading smartphone maker filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) Friday, requesting that the latter institute an investigation against Nvidia “under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, regarding certain graphics processing chips, Systems on a Chip, and products containing the same.”
It’s been over a year since Apple began its legal battle against Android in general, and HTC in particular. After a long review of the evidence, the International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled in favor of Apple and banned HTC from importing or selling its devices in the U.S.. The ban is not immediate, but come April 19, 2012, HTC could be in for some pain.
In a new report, the International Trade Commission called out China for its rampant piracy problem and "indigenous innovation policies" for costing the U.S. economy up to $48 billion in 2009. The report also blames China for costing Americans 2.1 million full time jobs that would otherwise be created if China substantially improved its intellectual property rights policies.
You might remember a few months back when Apple went on the legal warpath and sued HTC and Nokia for violating its intellectual property and patents. Part of all these cases tends to be a duplicate federal court and U.S. International Trade Commission complaint. Well the ITC just spoke up, and Apple's arguments haven't impressed them.
It looks like Microsoft is taking the kid gloves off, and putting on the 'sue everyone gloves'. The software giant has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Seattle and the International Trade Commission alleging that Android, as implemented by Barnes and Noble in the Nook, infringes on Microsoft-held patents. This isn't Redmond's first volley against the little green robot, but it might be the start of a new trend.
Sony has been dealt a severe blow by a European court in its ongoing patent battle with LG. According to the Guardian, the latter has been granted a preliminary injunction on the import of PS3 consoles into Europe by the civil court of justice in the Hague, thus requiring European custom officials to seize all PS3 shipments for at least 10 days. Hit the jump for more.
Technology licensing firm Rambus has gone to the International Trade Commission (ITC) to file a complaint asking for a very simple, even humble thing. They want the ITC to block the import and sale of any product infringing on its semiconductor patents. Sound reasonable? Well, it turns out that covers products from Broadcom, Freescale, NVIDIA, and more. As for the types of products Rambus thinks are infringing, that would be "personal computers, workstations, servers, routers, mobile phones and other handheld devices, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, motherboards, plug-in cards, hard drives and modems." In case you haven't noticed, that's just about everything that makes us happy around here.
Rambus has been involved in a number of long running patent disputes with the likes of Nvidia. After trying in vain to work out licensing deals with everyone that's ever gone near a semiconductor, Rambus felt only legal action would get their point across. That's probably the real goal of this filing with the ITC. It is supremely unlikely that the commission would see fit to ban the sale of all these items. ITC complaints are a regular part of patent disputes, although they are not usually this expansive.
There is at least some validity to Rambus' claims. They won a partial victory over Nvidia last summer. But they do have quite the reputation at a patent troll these days. Should the world's technology companies just pay off Rambus, or is this just a lot of bluster?
The US International Trade Commission has issued a notice of final determination in the patent infringement action brought by Rambus against Nvidia and other respondents, the technology licensing company, often accused of being a patent troll, announced in a press release. The ITC found Nvidia and some of its customers (co-respondents in the case) guilty of infringing three Rambus patents, affirming an earlier decision by an ITC administrative law judge, albeit with some modification.
The ITC has notified Rambus of its intent to issue a Limited Exclusion Order prohibiting the importation of infringing products into the United States; the list includes Nvidia’s GeForce, Quadro, nForce, Tesla and Tegra product families. The sale of infringing products previously imported by the respondents will also be banned.
However, the respondents can continue to import and sell the affected products during a 60-day Presidential review period by posting a bond equaling “2.65% of the entered value of the subject imports.” According to a Bloomberg report, Nvidia will be taking advantage of a licensing arrangement Rambus reached with the European Commission “to continue our business under the terms of that license and prevent the enforcement of any exclusion order.” Last year, Rambus settled an antitrust case in Europe by agreeing to cap memory chip royalties at 40 cents per unit.
"We are extremely pleased with the ITC's decision to issue a Limited Exclusion Order, signaling the strength of our innovation efforts beyond the Farmwald-Horowitz patents of our founders. The value of our patented inventions has been recognized by our current licensees, and we will continue our efforts to license others,” said Thomas Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus.
You may remember a few months back when Apple sued HTC for patent infringement. The case centered mostly around HTC's Android phones. Long story short, it looked a little grim for the relatively young HTC, though it will still likely take years for the case to run its course. But now HTC is coming out swinging, and has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against Apple for infringing five of their patents. HTC has asked the ITC to ban imports of the iPhone, iPad , and iPod Touch. This is a common request in these cases.
According to GIzmodo (though not yet confirmed), two of the patents are related to power management, two are for personalized phone dialers, and one is for a dialer with special memory access. Apple threw everything they had at HTC, and by comparison this is small potatoes. It could be HTC is attempting to extract a cross-licensing deal from Apple, or just get them to call it a day. No corresponding federal lawsuit has been filed as of yet, but that could be coming too. We'll keep an eye on this one folks.
If Rambus could find a way to take people to court just for using the word 'memory,' we have little doubt it would. In the meantime, the legal beagles at Rambus have set their sights on Nvidia and has been granted its request by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to investigate the GPU maker, along with any company using Nvidia products beleived to be infringing.
"In its complaint, Rambus has alleged infringement of nine Rambus patents," Rambus wrote in a press release. "The accused products include NVIDIA products that incorporate DDR, DDR2, DDR3, LPDDR, GDDR, GDDR2, and GDDR3 memory controllers, including graphics processors, and media and communications processors."
The dispute over Nvidia's products isn't a new one and dates back to July, when Rambus accused Nvidia of violating 17 patents covering chipsets, graphics processors, and media communication processors. At the time, Rambus claimed it had spent six years trying to sell Nvidia a license to use its technology, and wanted an injunction preventing Nvidia from selling allegedly infringing products.