AMD Sues Mediatek Over GPU and APU Patent Infringement

AMD has reportedly sued MediaTek for allegedly violating several patents. MediaTek stands accused of using technologies covered by those patents, which are related to AMD's accelerated processor units (APUs) and GPUs, in products ranging from television sets to unidentified "smart devices."

The report was originally published by Bloomberg on its wire service; a summary is available from Seeking Alpha. AMD is said to be seeking "cash compensation for past, continuing, and future infringement" as well as a court order to block future infringement of its APU and GPU patents. The company is sending a clear message--don't use its graphics tech in your products if you aren't willing to license the associated patents first.

This lawsuit follows a complaint AMD filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in 2017 against MediaTek, Sigma Designs, and other companies. AMD's complaints are the same as they are now: companies violated several patents related to its graphics technologies in their quests to offer cheap-but-good TVs. The ITC decided in AMD's favor in August 2018, giving the company the legal backing it needed to file a suit like this one.

Here's how we described the patents in our initial coverage of the ITC's decision:

"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."

It's not clear why AMD waited to file suit against MediaTek after the ITC's decision. Perhaps the companies were in settlement talks--AMD settled with LG before the ITC even issued a decision--that fell through. Either way, it wouldn't be surprising to hear sometime in the next few months that MediaTek decided to settle instead of battle AMD in court. Legal battles are expensive, and especially after the ITC's decision, this one will probably be hard to win.

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