U.S. ITC to Investigate Claims that LG, MediaTek, and Others Violate AMD’s Graphics Patents

U.S. ITC to Investigate Claims that LG, MediaTek, and Others Violate AMD’s Graphics Patents

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) stated on Friday that it had voted to open an investigation on claims made by AMD whereby LG, MediaTek, Vizio, and Sigma are selling products in the U.S. which infringe upon AMD’s patents on graphic systems.

The origin of this patent dispute is traced back to AMD’s complaint with the USITC. Anandtech has a brief article┬ádetailing the lead up to the case, which we recommend reading for background information.

AMD insists that three of its patents that cover the fundamental aspects of contemporary graphics processing such as unified shaders and parallel pipeline graphics systems are infringed by products from LG, MediaTek, Sigma and Vizio. But as Anandtech notes, AMD’s main issue is against intellectual property vendor ARM which is where the defendants license their GPU technologies from. As intellectual property (IP) law is rather convoluted and tricky, AMD is going the easier route by suing actual products that it deems as infringing its IP rather than the ideas that might be infringing.

Hence, AMD is going after manufacturers that actually make chips allegedly violating AMD’s IP. It is a roundabout way for going after ARM for using AMD’s IP, but one that can result in pulling off of several product lines and directly hurt ARM’s business as well.

Per AnandTech, one of the allegedly infringing products is the MediaTek Helio P10. This SoC includes the Mali T860MP2 GPU which is licensed from ARM. Although LG uses this chip in some of their products, and MediaTek manufactures the SoC itself, the GPU itself is not developed by either party.

AMD’s complaint also states this as an example of infringement and not the complete subject matter, meaning that this can and will extend onto other products if the case is ruled in AMD’s favor. AMD also claims that the products mentioned also damage legitimate licensees of AMD’s IP such as Samsung and GlobalFoundries, both of whom have licensed AMD’s IPs that are in this dispute.

The AMD complaint requests the USITC to issue a limited exclusion and a cease and desist order to stop the import and sale of the infringing products in the U.S. The latest development is that the USITC has admitted the dispute for consideration, although it has not made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC will assigning the case to an Administrative Law Judge who will hold an evidentiary hearing and make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

The determination is subject to review by the Commission and the USITC will make the final determination. Remedial orders under this section are effective only when issued, so AMD will have to fight it out to get relief or an out-of-court settlement.


Source 1: USITC Source 2: Anandtech Via: Reuters

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