The International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to hear Samsung's patent infringement case against NVIDIA, which was filed in response to a lawsuit initiated by the chip maker alleging Samsung unlawfully used its patented technology in many of Samsung's most popular products.
The ITC said it will open an investigation into the veracity of Samsung's claims against NVIDIA and 11 other companies using NVIDIA's products. Samsung said NVIDIA infringed on four of its patents relating to chip structures, memory arrays and other chip-making technologies.
The commission's decision to initiate a probe into Samsung's complaint is by no means an indication of the merit of the Korean electronics company's accusations. However, if the ITC finds NVIDIA guilty of infringing upon Samsung's patents, the court could order to ban the sales of many of NVIDIA's most profitable products, including its Tegra mobile chips, GeForce graphics processing units, Tesla accelerator cards, Grid computing boards and Shield tablets, a move that could prove disastrous to all of NVIDIA's businesses.
Samsung also accused NVIDIA of making "false and misleading" claims in its advertising when it said that the Tegra K1 processor found in the Shield tablet was "the world's fastest processor." Citing benchmark studies, Samsung claimed its own Exynos 5433 mobile processor is faster.
"This is typical legal ping pong," said David Shannon, chief administrative officer at NVIDIA.
Shannon first announced in September that NVIDIA was filing a case against Samsung and Qualcomm before the ITC and the District Court of Delaware, accusing the two companies of selling products that infringe on NVIDIA's graphics processing patents for technologies such as unified shaders, programmable shading and multithreaded parallel processing.
In its complaint, NVIDIA demanded that the United States ban several Samsung products containing Qualcomm's Adreno graphics cards, ARM's Mali, or Imagination's PowerVR. These devices include the Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 smartphones as well as the Galaxy Tab S, Galaxy Note Pro and Galaxy Tab.
"NVIDIA remains focused on ensuring that we receive fair compensation from Samsung for using our technology in Galaxy phones and tablets," Shannon said. "We won't allow ourselves to get sidetracked by the company's attempts to intimidate our partners who have nothing to do with the unlicensed use of our IP. We look forward to the court setting this right."
Samsung countered NVIDIA's claims by saying that the problem is with Qualcomm and not with Samsung. Not content, Samsung finally retaliated by filing a case before the ITC and a federal court against NVIDIA "seeking damages for deliberate infringement of several technical patents."
Other companies facing charges include Biostar, Elitegroup, EVGA, Fuhu, Jaton, Mad Catz, OUYA, Sparkle Computer, Toradex, Wikipad and ZOTAC.