Wednesday, February 1st 2017

AMD Files Patent Infringement Complaint Against LG, Vizio, Others

On January 24, 2017, AMD filed a complaint against several prominent tech companies, requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337. The basis for the complaint: some of these companies (namely, LG, MediaTek, VIZIO, and Sigma) unlawfully import into or sell inside the U.S. products which infringe on AMD's graphics intelectual property - namely, on U.S. Patent Nos. 7,633,506 (the '506 patent), 7,796,133 (the '133 patent) and 8,760,454 (the '454 patent) (collectively, the "asserted patents".

According to the complaint, these patents generally relate to architectures for graphics processing unit (GPU) circuitry. The '506 patent relates to "a graphics processing architecture that enables a large amount of graphics data to be rendered to a frame buffer". The '133 patent relates to specialized "texture" processing circuitry that is employed by GPUs. Lastly, the '454 patent relates to a "unified shader" hardware architecture for GPUs. The complaint specifically refers to various televisions and smartphones, specifically, towards the graphics processing systems within those televisions and smartphones - as infringing products.
AMD asserts its vested interest in the mentioned patents, referring to the substantial investment it has done on developing products based on them, as well as its partner foundry GlobalFoundries on manufacturing products based on these patents. AMD also goes on to claim that the patent infringement damages its legitimate partners who have acquired the right to use them - namely, Samsung.

As a means of achieving justice on what AMD sees as gross violations on its intelectual property, the company only requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders directed at the infringing companies - so, basically, that the products referenced in the complaint be prohibited of being imported to and sold on U.S. territory. No claims on have yet been filed, but considering how that is a common occurrence in this kind of practices, it's likely that AMD will still claim the payment of an indemnity and/or royalties that would have otherwise been paid by the infringing companies, if they are ever found of the malpractice that AMD filed against. All in all, this will probably go in one of three ways: the companies are found guilty and AMD stands to make money; the companies are found not to have been infringing on patents, in which AMD loses money; or the companies enter an agreement for cross patent licensing and maybe some monetary value changing hands between them. It's still too soon to look into any of these outcomes, though. For now, just know that AMD too sets lawsuits against other companies.
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31 Comments on AMD Files Patent Infringement Complaint Against LG, Vizio, Others

#1
Assimilator
Hmmm, I would've thought NVIDIA would be included in the list of respondents. And those patents are pretty damn broad, AMD must be pretty sure that the courts won't throw them out.
Posted on Reply
#2
Octopuss
I don't understand this one bit.
Unless manufacturers stole some confidential design data, how can they infringe on anything by simply creating some products? Perhaps I am missing something?
Posted on Reply
#3
MT Alex
Hopefully this isn't a last ditch lifeline because they realize their upcoming gpu/cpu offerings are going to wind up as underwhelming as their last few attempts.
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#4
JalleR
So now AMD is getting desperate..... that is just sad... I guess we can expect ZERO from Zen and vega... :)
Posted on Reply
#5
silentbogo
Am I having a deja-vu or simply tripping?
I swear I've seen this a few years ago....

EDIT:
Oh, wait, it was identical bogus lawsuit by NVidia against Samsung and Qualcomm!
Beware, AMD, it ended badly for Team Green :slap:
Posted on Reply
#6
Hood
Dem TVs be showin' graphics, an dat's r turf beatches...
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#7
alucasa
Gotta bring in money somehow.

Don't blame AMD.
Posted on Reply
#8
revin
Raevenlord said:
the companies are found not to have been infringing on patents, in which AMD loses money
No, No, No, just means they just would not been entitled to receive FREE money from a broad lawsuit.
If you don't have it to loose you don't loose it damnit. That's quite a grasping patent they gained. Source :
But OTOH the “GRAPHICS PROCESSING ARCHITECTURE EMPLOYING A UNIFIED SHADER”," is Intel, NVidia paying royalties to AMD for this #8,760,454 patent ?
Posted on Reply
#9
NdMk2o1o
revin said:
No, No, No, just means they just would not been entitled to receive FREE money from a broad lawsuit.
If you don't have it to loose you don't loose it damnit. That's quite a grasping patent they gained. Source :
But OTOH the “GRAPHICS PROCESSING ARCHITECTURE EMPLOYING A UNIFIED SHADER”," is Intel, NVidia paying royalties to AMD for this #8,760,454 patent ?
That could be a possibility as I'm sure they all license some technologies between them......
Posted on Reply
#10
2wicked
AMD had a digital tv division acquired through ATI that it sold to broadcom in 2008.
They could still hold patents from that.
Posted on Reply
#11
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
revin said:
No, No, No, just means they just would not been entitled to receive FREE money from a broad lawsuit.
If you don't have it to loose you don't loose it damnit. That's quite a grasping patent they gained. Source :
But OTOH the “GRAPHICS PROCESSING ARCHITECTURE EMPLOYING A UNIFIED SHADER”," is Intel, NVidia paying royalties to AMD for this #8,760,454 patent ?
Actually I would wager a bet that this is the deal AMD struck with intel not that long ago for graphics IP, after intel's IP contract ran out with nvidia.

The fact that Samsung pays for the usage of this IP makes the case a little more legit...
Posted on Reply
#12
Steevo
2wicked said:
AMD had a digital tv division acquired through ATI that it sold to broadcom in 2008.
They could still hold patents from that.
This is exactly what it is, and some of the graphics team went as well, and essentially a lot of the GPU's in smartphones are modeled after the ATI 5xxx series GPU itself, their next high end generation was an iteration of GCN setups.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VideoCore

"These "slices" correspond roughly to AMD's Compute Units."
Posted on Reply
#13
efikkan
a graphics processing architecture that enables a large amount of graphics data to be rendered to a frame buffer
Oh my, that would mean all modern GPUs are in violation.

I'm all for patents that protects real inventions for the rightful inventor, but most patents these days are too vague or specify obvious non-inventions or existing technologies.

This sounds just as stupid as that Swedish guy who patented "Data processing system and apparatus for color graphics display" years after the "invention" of color graphics, and has sued companies ever since.

So AMD has also sunk to the level where they have given up creating real products and are instead sueing for royalties to existing technology?

Perhaps I should patent "patent trolling", so I can sue all these trolls?
Posted on Reply
#14
deu
JalleR said:
So now AMD is getting desperate..... that is just sad... I guess we can expect ZERO from Zen and vega... :)
The only thing thats desperate is salty peoples dish. AMD is up +461% in 10 months and everything is going their way. FYI the stock went up today (14,42% for now which translate to 70% relative to 10 months ago.) In other words; find an argument or get laughed at in these forums...
Posted on Reply
#15
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
efikkan said:
Oh my, that would mean all modern GPUs are in violation.

I'm all for patents that protects real inventions for the rightful inventor, but most patents these days are too vague or specify obvious non-inventions or existing technologies.

This sounds just as stupid as that Swedish guy who patented "Data processing system and apparatus for color graphics display" years after the "invention" of color graphics, and has sued companies ever since.

So AMD has also sunk to the level where they have given up creating real products and are instead sueing for royalties to existing technology?

Perhaps I should patent "patent trolling", so I can sue all these trolls?
Multiple companies pay AMD for these patents. If you read the post Samsung is one of those companies my bet would be Samsung said we aren't going to pay you for this patent, because companies x/y/z use the same product and are doing so for free.
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#16
theoneandonlymrk
Perhaps they thought freesync was free for everyone, silly manufacturers.
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#17
AsRock
TPU addict
Good luck to them if they are infringing, i hope AMD take them to the cleaners.
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#18
Raevenlord
News Editor
revin said:
No, No, No, just means they just would not been entitled to receive FREE money from a broad lawsuit.
If you don't have it to loose you don't loose it damnit. That's quite a grasping patent they gained. Source :
But OTOH the “GRAPHICS PROCESSING ARCHITECTURE EMPLOYING A UNIFIED SHADER”," is Intel, NVidia paying royalties to AMD for this #8,760,454 patent ?
There are always legal expenses to take into account. If money leaves the company to pay for the lawsuit, and no money enters the coffers from winning it, then AMD basically bleeds money
Posted on Reply
#19
Foobario
Octopuss said:
I don't understand this one bit.
Unless manufacturers stole some confidential design data, how can they infringe on anything by simply creating some products? Perhaps I am missing something?
Sounds like you are missing quite alot.

Obviously, AMD's assertion is that they did steal or copy a confidential design. They probably copied it from a Samsung product thinking it too insignificant for Samsung to care.
Posted on Reply
#20
Fluffmeister
Octopuss said:
I don't understand this one bit.
Unless manufacturers stole some confidential design data, how can they infringe on anything by simply creating some products? Perhaps I am missing something?
Think Freesync, but then trademark it, it's funny and ironic.
Posted on Reply
#21
jihadjoe
Octopuss said:
I don't understand this one bit.
Unless manufacturers stole some confidential design data, how can they infringe on anything by simply creating some products? Perhaps I am missing something?
Even if you independently invent something that's already patented you're still on the hook for violating the patent.

The whole point of a patent is 'I invented this first', so the patent holder can monetize his product for 25 years or so. Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell both worked independently toward developing the telephone, but in the end Bell won the patent and thus the monies.
Posted on Reply
#22
Totally
Assimilator said:
Hmmm, I would've thought NVIDIA would be included in the list of respondents. And those patents are pretty damn broad, AMD must be pretty sure that the courts won't throw them out.
Nvidia licenses quite a bit already, so those patents might already fall under some agreement between the two.
Posted on Reply
#23
refillable
They will not gain anything, that's almost certain. Just like with Nvidia.

And if you think a patent infringement is a sign that a company is desperate, you are stupid.
Posted on Reply
#24
efikkan
cdawall said:
Multiple companies pay AMD for these patents. If you read the post Samsung is one of those companies my bet would be Samsung said we aren't going to pay you for this patent, because companies x/y/z use the same product and are doing so for free.
A patent violation claim does not become legitimate because someone else is paying for it. Most companies chooses to pay a fee over a lengthy legal process. Unfortunately patent applications and legal disputes are determined by legal experts, not technical experts. For this reason there are a number of patents that are "legally valid", yet any person with minor technical knowledge and a brain knows they either to be bullshit or preexisting technology.

There are a number of companies owning such patents, including companies like Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft has a number of patents which affect any operating system, incl. mouse input patents, and Apple own patents for "multitasking", none of which were invented by either companies. Even though every sane person know these patterns to be nonsense, most makers of Android devices pay Microsoft a fee per device.

Foobario said:

Obviously, AMD's assertion is that they did steal or copy a confidential design. They probably copied it from a Samsung product thinking it too insignificant for Samsung to care.
If someone stole a design, it's a copyright violation, not a patent issue. Patents are publicly available.
Posted on Reply
#25
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
efikkan said:
A patent violation claim does not become legitimate because someone else is paying for it. Most companies chooses to pay a fee over a lengthy legal process. Unfortunately patent applications and legal disputes are determined by legal experts, not technical experts. For this reason there are a number of patents that are "legally valid", yet any person with minor technical knowledge and a brain knows they either to be bullshit or preexisting technology.

There are a number of companies owning such patents, including companies like Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft has a number of patents which affect any operating system, incl. mouse input patents, and Apple own patents for "multitasking", none of which were invented by either companies. Even though every sane person know these patterns to be nonsense, most makers of Android devices pay Microsoft a fee per device.
Your opinion doesn't make the situation anymore legitimate. AMD holds this patent, according to AMD these companies are infringing on it. We will see what happens from here. You aren't a patent lawyer or the courts.
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