Samsung recently came under fire for allegedly violating Nvidia's patents, but the two companies have actually been duking it out for quite some time.
According to a post from Nvidia in September of 2014, the 21-year-old company filed its first patent lawsuit against Samsung and Qualcomm with the US International Trade Commission, and the US District Court in Deleware. According to their press release, “NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) today announced that it has filed complaints against Samsung and Qualcomm at the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court in Delaware, alleging that the companies are both infringing NVIDIA GPU patents covering technology including programmable shading, unified shaders and multithreaded parallel processing.
“The identified Samsung products include the Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 mobile phones; and the Galaxy Tab S, Galaxy Note Pro and Galaxy Tab 2 computer tablets. Most of these devices incorporate Qualcomm mobile processors — including the Snapdragon S4, 400, 600, 800, 801 and 805. Others are powered by Samsung Exynos mobile chips, which incorporate ARM’s Mali and Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR GPU cores.
“NVIDIA co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said: “As the world leader in visual computing, NVIDIA has invented technologies that are vital to mobile computing. We have the richest portfolio of computer graphics IP in the world, with 7,000 patents granted and pending, produced by the industry’s best graphics engineers and backed by more than $9 billion in R&D.
“‘Our patented GPU inventions provide significant value to mobile devices. Samsung and Qualcomm have chosen to use these in their products without a license from us. We are asking the courts to determine infringement of NVIDIA’s GPU patents by all graphics architectures used in Samsung’s mobile products and to establish their licensing value.’
A pioneer in computer graphics, NVIDIA invented the GPU. The graphics processing unit enables computers to generate and display images. It brings to life the beautiful graphics that shape how people enjoy their mobile devices and is fundamental to the rise of mobile computing. NVIDIA GPUs are some of the most complex processors ever created, requiring over a thousand engineering-years to create and containing more than 7 billion transistors.”
Clearly, the two companies have been at each other’s throats over the patents to graphics processing technologies used in mobile devices. With Samsung’s massive team of attorneys, it seems like Nvidia is facing a tough fight ahead. Maybe the two companies will reach a settlement some day, but until then they will spend precious time and resources on the fight.