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TI Sued Over Patent Infringement in OMAP 3 and 4 Series

By - Source: MJ | B 11 comments

Texas Instruments (TI) is facing a patent infringement suit from Cradle IP, which claims that the company is violating three of its patents with its TMS320-series digital signal processors as well as its ARM-based AM389x Sitara and OMAP3 and 4 processors.

The patents in question are #6,647,450 (Multiprocessor computer systems with command FIFO buffer at each target device), #6,708,259 (Programmable wake up of memory transfer controllers in a memory transfer engine) and #6,874,049 (Semaphores with interrupt mechanism).

All three patents were held until November 9, 2011 by Cradle Technologies, which was spun off Cirrus Logic in 1998. Cradle IP is a subsidiary of Cradle Technologies that was apparently created to monetize Cradle Technology's patents. Cradle Technologies describes itself as a "leader in network video surveillance systems".

According to the suit, Cradle continued to develop multi-core hardware designs after it was separated from Cirrus Logic and even released chips, including the CT3600 multi-core DSP in 2005 and was earlier to market than TI and Freescale. The company also stated that it has tried to contact TI about the alleged patent violations as early as November 2008, but has been supposedly ignored.

As usual, the document asks for a court trial to confirm the infringement, as well as "compensatory damages, past and future, amounting to no less than reasonable royalties, prejudgment interest, and/or any other available damages based on any form of recoverable economic injury sustained by Cradle as a result of TI’s infringement including enhanced damages for TI’s willful infringement of the Patents-in-Suit."

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  • 1 Hide
    alidan , December 21, 2011 5:20 AM
    not sure what these pattents are exactly, but if used in chips predateing ti's use, than i can see a legitimate concern.

    granted i dont know much and for all i know these could be the rounded edges of hardware.
  • 7 Hide
    dogman_1234 , December 21, 2011 6:15 AM
    This is insane!

    this has to burn a bridge for innovators. Originally, Patents and IP, ( Intellectual Property) were created to protect inventors and innovation. Nowadays, it is a marketing tool to screw anyone in the @$$ for billions and deters innovation. This is sickening to see a good idea being abused.
  • 3 Hide
    mrmez , December 21, 2011 6:38 AM
    It is a bit out of control for sure. But won't it deter innovation even more if everyone blatantly violates patents with no consequence?

    I mean, whats the point in spending billions on R&D creating something new if everyone will copy you tomorrow at no cost?

    There is no magic bullet here. Protecting IP is difficult and costly. With so many million patents, its also extremely difficult to find if there is something already out there, especially when the descriptions can be so vague.
  • 0 Hide
    mortsmi7 , December 21, 2011 7:46 AM
    How do they know if they infringed upon this stuff? Do they dissect and trace out all TI's circuitry?
  • 1 Hide
    seezur , December 21, 2011 8:51 AM
    mortsmi7How do they know if they infringed upon this stuff? Do they dissect and trace out all TI's circuitry?


    Sort of, if the court allows it TI will have to release the designs of their possibly infringing product to the legal team of Cradle IP to determine if any intellectual property was used. There are alot of maybes involved in something like this. It also depends on the validity of Cradle IP's patents. If they are to vague then it may just get thrown out.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , December 21, 2011 10:07 AM
    mrmezIt is a bit out of control for sure. But won't it deter innovation even more if everyone blatantly violates patents with no consequence?I mean, whats the point in spending billions on R&D creating something new if everyone will copy you tomorrow at no cost?There is no magic bullet here. Protecting IP is difficult and costly. With so many million patents, its also extremely difficult to find if there is something already out there, especially when the descriptions can be so vague.


    if everyones going to coppy you, the next logical step is to pool r&d from multipul companies together and research for common good, and fight in the manufacturing space.

  • 7 Hide
    memadmax , December 21, 2011 11:53 AM
    Hey Tom's, you should make a section of the website dedicated to the endless parade of lawsuits going on.....
  • 0 Hide
    mrmaia , December 21, 2011 11:55 AM
    Patents are becoming a new business in which everyone tries to capitalize, market their products and screw their concurrents AT THE SAME TIME. Seems like it's the ideal business.
  • 1 Hide
    classzero , December 21, 2011 12:52 PM
    Quote:
    Hey Tom's, you should make a section of the website dedicated to the endless parade of lawsuits going on.....


    You are already there.
  • 0 Hide
    mrmez , December 22, 2011 12:17 AM
    Quote:
    if everyones going to coppy you, the next logical step is to pool r&d from multipul companies together and research for common good, and fight in the manufacturing space.


    That will never happen.

    Why would Intel (who most people will agree is the market leader in outright performance), want to share anything with AMD?
    They have spent trillions over the years on R&D, building fab plants and generally working pretty hard to remain #1. AMD on the other hand who have cut down on assets, and aren't able to compete on outright performance, but rather price/performance, now show up at Intel and want to combine efforts and share IP. Great deal for AMD.

    An analogy is like a group assignment at uni/whatever. Sure, if you are the dumbass of the class you will get a free ride to an extent. On the other side the smartest person gets their work diluted by a few other idiots.

    At the end of the day the consumer suffers too. No longer do I have a choice of two different CPU's, after combining efforts there is one choice and they can charge whatever they want.

    As said, the current IP/Patent wars are a real problem with no immediate solution. AFAIK the law is changing to more accurately reflect WHO applied for a patent first and give them legal ownership. Long term solutions must include much more accurate details and descriptions. A lot of the descriptions are so vague that accidental violation is a reality. Other possibilities include "time to market" limitations (once granted a patent you have x time to get a product to market or you lose it), and maybe non-transferable/sellable patents. Unfortunately both, especially the latter have many problems. Why would i bother creating something new if my specific company couldn't use it, and I can't sell it?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 23, 2011 1:58 PM
    This brought up a point concerning patent trolls. If a company abandons the development of a patent, the can lose it. How can one be developing a patent when they have no technical capability? (This does not apply to the case above because the holding company explicitly has said they have continued development.)