Nvidia Sues Qualcomm And Samsung For Infringing On Its GPU Patents

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irish_adam

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Surely Nvidea aren't saying that they invented the GPU and hold the patents for it. If that was the case then surley every chip maker would have to pay it royalties including Intel and AMD
 
This is crazy. Nvidia is just trying to get money for nothing. All those features mentioned have been around for close to a decade now in both ATI/AMD, Nvidia, and even Intel graphics.
Qualcomm directly purchased its graphics technology from AMD many years ago and have ran with it advancing the design greatly. Nvidia is crazy.
 

chicofehr

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I would love to put the lawyers into a ring and get them to fight each other over the patents. Put the ring into a court room and get them throwing punches. I would pay to see that.
 

InvalidError

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Looks like Nvidia's frustration with failing to earn the market shares they hoped for with Tegra just entered the next stage: suing the competition for royalties.

At a glance, most of those patents should never have been granted in the first place since they have tons of prior art in CPUs, older GPUs from before programmable shaders, obvious/natural technological progress, etc.

None of the summaries from Nvidia's patent struck me as genuinely original.
 

silverblue

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And... how is this Samsung's issue? It's like one car company complaining about another for launching a very similar product... and suing the customers instead.

Maybe NVIDIA have realised that they need other revenue streams, no matter how dubious.
 

dovah-chan

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I could see them getting upset about Qualcomm using proprietary GPU components derived from Kepler but the features they listed are the definition of a GPU. Kind of silly if you ask me.
 

jeremy2020

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I use nvidia GPUs. I tried switching to AMD, but went back to Nvidia. This is the type of stunt to get me to try AMD again.
 

Miharu

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Why they sue Samsung? For using Qualcomm’s chips? I do not understand it at all. If your provider chip use illegal IP, you cannot be sue for that! It's like sue every single people who use those chips that currently aren't prove to infringe anything. If this go on... I lost faith in humanity.

Also if you check that from a mobile Platform point of view, they target the big part of the market that they try to get. It's really bad.
 

soccerplayer88

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I use nvidia GPUs. I tried switching to AMD, but went back to Nvidia. This is the type of stunt to get me to try AMD again.
So you'll go back to the other company even though you didn't like them all because the current vendor you're with has some shady business practices even though you like their products more.

Wait what? This is the first time NVIDIA (as a company) has ever filed a patent lawsuit. NVIDIA tried to negotiate with Samsung, Samsung told them to f*** off. So NVIDIA went to court.

The only thing that should raise eyebrows is that NVIDIA let this sit for two years before the injunction. That I believe only NVIDIA can answer.

AnandTech had an interesting read on the subject. They believe their going after Samsung because their the largest supplier in the US and Qualcomm being the largest SoC. It makes sense to start at the top.
 

xPandaPanda

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What do you people mean "why sue Samsung?" Samsung has a long history of copying and infringing upon other companies. And apparently, they are okay with it because they are still making profit. So I guess it's part of their business model? They were the ones that signed off on it because they have a lot of R&D to get the GPU on their SoC.
I don't like the way patents are used, but if nVidia is claiming what they are, then they clearly have the upperhand. Also, Samsung is not a company that seeks innovation. They are a more of a business and they declined negotiations. I'd like to see the royalties help nVidia make better technologies. However, the price-gouging of their products is a different beast...
 

InvalidError

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While Samsung makes the chips in their their fabs, they actually license the CPU and GPU as IP cores straight from ARM.

Nvidia should be suing ARM since Samsung and other companies using Mali IGPs did not actually design the IGP in their chips and ARM is licensing the same infringing GPUs to everyone who wants to use them.
 

ZolaIII

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It's becoming fashion to sue Qualcomm.
They can't do anything to Samsung for using Qualcomm SoCs in their products, that part is actually funny. I certainly won't cry for Qualcomm.
 
Glad to see most people at least understand Nvidia is nuts to try this. It probably is because the Tegra SoCs just simply aren't winning any battles in the mobile world. I'm hoping this comes back to bite Nvidia fairly hard, like getting the patents in question revoked despite the time they put into bribing officials to issue the patents in the first place.

Next they will be trying to patent stuff like the tablet, or the home computer.
 

nismo303

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They are going after Samsung because Samsung is the largest manufacture of non iPhone mobile devices. 60% of Androids are Samsungs.

If Qualcomm copped NVidia's Kepler architecture to replace previous Adreno architecture previous to Andreno 330, Qualcomm should definitely pay up.

What also makes this interesting, and shows NVidia isn't just patent trolling, is that the case is NOT being held in Texas, where they let you sue for anything without worry.
 


Qualcomm didn't take anything from Nvidia. Adreno graphics are directly based on the old AMD mobile graphics which they bought years ago.
Kepler, while very effective for desktops, has proven to consume too much power for smartphones. Why do you think the Nvidia Shield is so big? its to help cool the GPU inside of it. Not to mention if it was Kepler tech, they would of directly said that and would have a lot more proof than arbitrarily suing for every part of a GPU.
 


Really? What idiot tried to patent that? I know Nintendo tried to patent "Remote" when the Nintendo Wii came out. That was another really dumb one to try for.
 

alextheblue

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I could see them getting upset about Qualcomm using proprietary GPU components derived from Kepler but the features they listed are the definition of a GPU. Kind of silly if you ask me.
Not to mention if it was Kepler tech, they would of directly said that and would have a lot more proof than arbitrarily suing for every part of a GPU.
You guys don't understand. Read the article carefully.

"Nvidia claims these are the kind of patented technologies Samsung and Qualcomm infringed on:"

They weren't listing patents, it was just a general overview of the types of technologies they are claiming to infringe on. The actual patents are going to be a lot more specific and in-depth. I'm not exactly the biggest Nvidia fan, but I don't believe they're just patent trolling. I'm would give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Also, Adreno has evolved a lot from the Imageon days - they have very little in common with those old ATI designs, and so using that as a defense is silly. The current product is completely different and could very well infringe on Nvidia patents.
 

InvalidError

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If you follow the links to Nvidia's ITC complaint, you see the following list of patents in Nvidia's filings:

  • 6,198,488
    6,992,667
    7,038,685
    7,015,913
    6,697,063
    7,209,140
    6,690,372
One of those patents is merely integrating stuff together into a single chip, which CPU/chipset manufactuers have been doing for 40 years. This should never have been granted.

The unified shader patent is akin to patenting a slightly different take on the general-purpose CPU, same goes for the multi-threaded/parallel pattent. I do not think those should have been granted either since they are much too broad and overlap CPU designs principles that have been in use or demonstrated 15-20 years ago - the idea of simultaneous multi-threading has been around at least since 2000 when Intel was about to launch the P4.

So from the summary text, this is at least three patents that look to me like they should have never been granted in the first place. I do not remember what the other four were about but they did not strike me as particularly patent-worthy either.
 

iam2thecrowe

Glorious
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Looks like Nvidia's frustration with failing to earn the market shares they hoped for with Tegra just entered the next stage: suing the competition for royalties.

At a glance, most of those patents should never have been granted in the first place since they have tons of prior art in CPUs, older GPUs from before programmable shaders, obvious/natural technological progress, etc.

None of the summaries from Nvidia's patent struck me as genuinely original.
with whats been going on lately between apple and samsung, comparatively, this seems like a perfectly reasonable reason to sue.
 
Thank you InvalidError for saving me the time to have to point out the list of patents to him.

To further push on the "simultaneous multi-threading" part of this, it was first thought of in the 60s by IBM, and was developed to a working state by many companies such as DEC, Intel, MIPS Technology, and AMD to name a few. Not sure when AMD finished their work on it, cause they only make use of it in the Bulldozer FPU inside of their CPUs, not sure about GPUs. The others have all had working models of it since the late 1990s.

None of these patents are really proper to be granted. Hopefully this patent war can finish fast so Qualcomm can back to work, everyone is trying to sue them and they are one of the biggest forces innovating mobile tech. All these law suits could slow them down a little in development.
 


Could you elaborate more? What could be going on between Apple and Samsung that gives Nvidia any reason to launch a lawsuit?
 

InvalidError

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I am guessing much of it would be related to how Apple managed to get compensation for many of their questionable patents. Now Nvidia wants to try their luck.
 
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