Samsung and Qualcomm might have had a falling out over the chips that would have been used for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, but the two might have to become frenemies soon if they are to see victory in the patent challenge NVIDIA has brought to their doorsteps. Claiming the first kill, NVIDIA proudly announced on its blog that presiding Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender has ruled in favor of NVIDIA’s construction of the patent claims, which very well sets the tone for the upcoming trial, or even call for a settlement.
It’s easy to get lost in the legal jargon. NVIDIA certainly hasn’t won anything yet. What happened was a pretrial claim construction decision, known in the US as a Markman ruling. Here a judge decides, as a matter of law, the meaning and scope of the patents involved in the lawsuit. In this case, in six out of seven patent claims, the judge favored NVIDIA’s construction of the claims. Since the interpretation of the claims will be the substance of the actual trial, NVIDIA considers it already a victory when the interpretation is favorable to them.
Last September, NVIDIA surprisingly sued Samsung and Qualcomm over several patent infringements revolving graphics technology inside mobile chips. The case is quite high-profile as it targets companies, chips, and technologies that are the heart of our mobile devices. NVIDIA says that it was only forced to do so to protect what it is rightfully its property, claiming that it is the first time it has ever filed a patent lawsuit in its 21 years of existence.
It’s not all good news for NVIDIA, however. The company also gives an update on the counter suit Samsung has filed against it and one of its customers, this time in Virginia. NVIDIA alleges that Samsung decided to file it in that particular state because of its notoriety for having the fastest time to trial. It also claims that Samsung specifically targeted one of the smallest companies in Virginia just to keep the case there. NVIDIA requested that the case be moved to California but was eventually denied.
Samsung and Qualcomm have yet to respond to this development. If there are no delaying tactics employed, the case will proceed to trial in June.