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Nvidia and AMD Sued Over Power Management in Chips

By - Source: MJ | B 42 comments

AMD as well as Nvidia are being sued by Power Management Solutions over one of the most basic power management functions in integrated circuits used today.

Power Management Solutions, a Frisco- Texas-based company with no traceable corporate history, claims that it is entitled to damages relating to patent number 5,504,909, which the company says is infringed by AMD and Nvidia.

The patent, titled "Power management apparatus collocated on the same integrated circuit (IC) as the functional unit that it manages" was filed by Electronics Products Company in January 1994 and approved by the USPTO in April 1996. Power Management Solutions claims it has the rights to the patent, even if the USPTO did not list Power Management Solutions as the rightful owner at the time of this writing. Intel and Freescale were sued by Power Management Solutions over the same patent back in August of last year. There is no information on the proceedings of these cases.

The patent in question describes the idea to control electricity flow via on and off switches "between the co-resident functional circuit I/O nets and the integrated circuit I/O pads" as well as between internal and external ICs. The basic idea covers power being routed "from an external power supply through the power gating means to the internal functional circuit" using switches and a second electrical signal is being employed to control "the coupling action in the power gating means."

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Top Comments
  • 32 Hide
    classzero , April 9, 2012 5:24 PM
    Ha Ha Ha, US patent system sucks. Reform please.
  • 26 Hide
    alvine , April 9, 2012 5:10 PM
    Power management solutions just wants money
  • 26 Hide
    computernerdforlife , April 9, 2012 5:14 PM
    Motive: money
    Reasoning behind this lawsuit: stupidity

    Life goes on.
Other Comments
  • 26 Hide
    alvine , April 9, 2012 5:10 PM
    Power management solutions just wants money
  • 26 Hide
    computernerdforlife , April 9, 2012 5:14 PM
    Motive: money
    Reasoning behind this lawsuit: stupidity

    Life goes on.
  • -6 Hide
    trumpeter1994 , April 9, 2012 5:23 PM
    Lol goodluck with that power management solutions, your gonna considering your not rightfully listed as the owner and your trying to sue corporate giants.
  • 32 Hide
    classzero , April 9, 2012 5:24 PM
    Ha Ha Ha, US patent system sucks. Reform please.
  • 21 Hide
    Northwestern , April 9, 2012 5:34 PM
    Behold, a good example as to how patent office is being abused to halt technological advances.
  • 7 Hide
    yyk71200 , April 9, 2012 5:35 PM
    I just had a thought. In order to experience damages, shouldn't one company be in direct competition with another? That is, shouldn't one company have a product that directly competes with another such as one GPU vs. GPU? If the products aren't in competition with each other (such as GPUs and PSUs), what kind of damages we are talking about?
  • 14 Hide
    Murissokah , April 9, 2012 5:40 PM
    The biggest stupidity is not the fact that they are sueing over such a minor technology, but the fact that the patent was awarded in the first place. How come someone gets a patent for "integrating" two existing technologies? Everything gets integrated eventually.
  • 20 Hide
    Anonymous , April 9, 2012 5:41 PM
    It's just extortion, using lawyers instead of the mobsters.
  • -5 Hide
    jaber2 , April 9, 2012 5:42 PM
    If everyone is using thier idea without paying royalties then they are entitled to the damages. but we all know it was just an unproven idea, it took these companies to try out and come up with the right configuration to make it work, so it could have been first one who actually came up with a solution using thier idea whom should have gotten the pattent.
  • 4 Hide
    moonzy , April 9, 2012 5:46 PM
    I thought we were all supposed to be joining hands to celebrate A Brave New GREENER World?
  • 8 Hide
    milktea , April 9, 2012 5:47 PM
    Just another scheme though up by the pyramid scheme ppl. Unfortunately USPTO became their target.
  • 4 Hide
    chomlee , April 9, 2012 5:47 PM
    There needs to be an extorsion clause as a result of Patent lawsuites. When it is ruled there is no basis for the case and it is considered frivolous, the Judge could press charges against the plaintiff and they could be charged with Blackmail/Extrosion and possibly face jail time. I know this is a pipe dream and would never happen but it would certainly help put an end to the greedy scumfeeding lawyer problem we have here in the US.
  • 3 Hide
    drwho1 , April 9, 2012 5:48 PM
    I have issued patent for the "Piss-Off Principle", this patent will be available free of charge
    to anyone who wish to use it over frivolous lawsuits and their lawyers.

  • 7 Hide
    Hypertraxx , April 9, 2012 5:57 PM
    So this is the time where i live in. A time where everyone sues everyone for the sake of it, and everyone patents on everything for the sake of it.

    Welcome to America
  • 1 Hide
    eklipz330 , April 9, 2012 6:05 PM
    they shud just give them like $1000 and tell them to do something with their lives.
  • -5 Hide
    maxinexus , April 9, 2012 6:27 PM
    Of course it is about money. How would you feel if someone was using your patented idea without your permission and making money out of it. Look at this this way. When you write a paper and include other ideas in your paper without giving credit to the author you get kicked out from school for plagiarism.
    Do it in business you get money. Good fro PMS.
  • 10 Hide
    egowhip69 , April 9, 2012 6:40 PM
    Ha, easy solution to all this BS...

    Make a law that states if you are suing another company or individual for "damages" and that you lost, that you have to pay the same amount you were suing for to the "wronged" party. Plus their Lawyers fees, plus all court fees, plus an additional 10% of total damages just cause you are a patent trolling moron.

    Suddenly, suing unless you have a REAL reason to do so, looks MUCH less profitable.
  • 4 Hide
    invlem , April 9, 2012 6:45 PM
    Again the failure of the patent system to hand out patents to companies who have no intentions of actually pursuing the development of their patents beyond hording them to sue other companies.

    As far as I'm concerned if you have no intention of actually persuing (developing) a patent idea, it should expire in a reasonable amount of time (2 years from acceptance) if you can't prove you've put resources into developing it into a product. This would keep these trolls at bay, or at the very least force them to do something constructive, like actually develop the technologies they're sitting on.
  • 0 Hide
    Benihana , April 9, 2012 7:02 PM
    Another idiot giving Texas a bad name.
  • 0 Hide
    chechak , April 9, 2012 7:23 PM
    Power Management concern laptop
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