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AMD Wins Patent Dispute Against Vizio and Sigma Designs

Source: Vizio

People shopping for cheap TVs will soon have fewer options. The U.S. International Trade Commission has reportedly sided with AMD in a patent claim against Vizio, a television maker known for its relatively low pricing and barred the company from selling a number of its products in the U.S. That's only a small loss for thrifty Americans but an important victory for AMD.

The ITC's decision comes roughly a year-and-a-half since AMD filed a patent infringement complaint against Vizio, Sigma Designs, MediaTek, and LG claiming the companies infringed on three of its patents. Details about the ITC's decision are scarce; the commission doesn't appear to have published information about the case, and the Bloomberg report cited by Seeking Alpha doesn't seem to be available to the public.

Right now we know that AMD believed the companies listed in its complaint used chips that violated its patents. Instead of going after Imagination Technologies or Arm directly, AMD thought it easier to win a case against the companies whose products relied on the chips. LG settled with AMD, Vizio and Sigma Designs were found by the ITC to have violated one patent, and MediaTek's involvement with the case is currently unknown.

Three patents were at the center of AMD's complaint. Two resulted from its acquisition of ATI Technologies in 2006; the other was AMD's from the start. The patents broadly covered a parallel pipeline graphics system and unified shader technologies as well as the architecture required to use them. AMD wanted the technologies for its graphics cards, but they could also be used to power displays for other types of products, too.

Products like, you know, television sets. According to Seeking Alpha, the ITC decided that Vizio and Sigma Designs violated one of AMD's patents but didn't violate another. It's not clear if the third patent wasn't even considered or why it wasn't included with this decision. Still, despite the lack of details, the order shows that graphics card companies like AMD and Nvidia don't have to sit idly by when their tech is used in other products.

  • kcgoat26
    MORE CRAP ,THE COMMON PEOPLE ,NEED NOT KNOW
    Reply
  • jpe1701
    The problem with that is who decides who is "common"?
    Reply
  • razamatraz
    So AMD held a patent that they were not using in this way but no one else can use it in this way....I get why patents exist but this seems a bit trolly; use it or lose it.
    Reply
  • bananaforscale
    Like people who frequent Tom's Hardware are common anyway, even if it's a big site.
    Reply
  • racksmith101
    I'm not common! There is only one of me (thank God the world doesn't need any more) that makes me rare and unique :-P
    Reply
  • John Nemesh
    You write the article like it's a bad thing that Vizio and the others were found guilty of infringing another company's IP? Why? Because you can't buy a 2nd rate cheap TV if they have to all pay the appropriate licensing for the tech they use? Boo hoo! The quality of "journalism" here lately has taken a huge dive. You better start fixing this, and learn how to publish facts instead of spin, or people are going to stop coming here...
    Reply
  • hot.alwina
    "So AMD held a patent that they were not using in this way but no one else can use it in this way"... And you claim to "get why patents exist". Wow.
    1. Other people can use it, but they need to pay the fee
    2. Patents wouldn't make sense if they required you to use them in production. You could have the resources to develop something new while lacking everything that it required to produce it large-scale and sell it. This you need to patent your work so that you can safely sell the rights and still earn money from your achievement.
    Reply
  • kamran.emdadi
    Or you can just go complain about someone else's field, I'm a patent attorney, want to criticize my field and how it works? How about computer programmers, one guy can do the work of 20 yet a whole team is employed to waste governement money on every project. Medicine? Pushing toxic drugs on people when they really need more sleep and water and weight loss? Patents invite those with the idea, to file first and receive the reward, not a perfect system, but better then those identified above.
    Reply
  • John Nemesh
    21264351 said:
    "So AMD held a patent that they were not using in this way but no one else can use it in this way"... And you claim to "get why patents exist". Wow.
    1. Other people can use it, but they need to pay the fee
    2. Patents wouldn't make sense if they required you to use them in production. You could have the resources to develop something new while lacking everything that it required to produce it large-scale and sell it. This you need to patent your work so that you can safely sell the rights and still earn money from your achievement.

    It doesnt matter. AMD patented it and people that want to use their technology have to pay. That's the way it works. Sorry you don't like it, but your like or dislike of patent law doesn't affect in the slightest how it's applied.
    Reply
  • alan_rave
    They have to pay the appropriate licensing, but when the price is to high it becomes monopoly.
    Reply