AMD and ATI Technologies ULC have filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) that Realtek Semiconductor and TCL Industries Holdings have violated five patents, triggering a USITC investigation of the claims.
The USITC announced that it would investigate certain graphics systems, components thereof, and digital televisions with components from Taiwan-based Realtek and the China/Hong Kong-based TCL Industries Holdings (and its subsidiaries). The allegedly patent-infringing products are all imported into the US for sale, bringing them under the remit of the USITC.
AMD and ATI filed the complaint on May 5, 2022, seeking an exclusion order and cease and desist orders for the sale of the products. The USITC announced the investigation on July 1. AMD and ATI Technologies ULC of Canada, which AMD purchased back in 2006, claims Mediatek and TCL Industries violated five patents covering various graphics technologies.
The ATI patents include texture decompression techniques, a graphics processing architecture with a unified shader, and a multi-threaded graphics processing system (patents 7,742,053 claims 1-9, 8,760,454 claims 2-11, and 11,184,628 claims 7-12). The AMD patents cover a method and system for synchronizing thread wavefront data and events, and a patent covering a processing unit that enables asynchronous task dispatch (patents 8,468,547 claims 16-21, and 8,854,381 claims 15-20).
The investigation brings back memories of another USITC investigation triggered by AMD and ATI back in 2017. That investigation centered on patent infringements by LG, Vizio, Mediatek, and Sigma Designs, most of whom settled with AMD. However, AMD eventually sued Mediatek for violating several of its patents.
AMD and ATI's complaint claims that Realtek and TCL Holdings violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The first step of the 'Section 337 Investigation' is for the Chief Administrative Law Judge of the USITC to designate a presiding Administrative Law Judge to oversee an evidentiary hearing to determine if there has been a violation of Section 337. The USITC will give a target date for the completion of the investigation within 45 days.
If Realtek and TCL are found to be in violation of AMD/ATI's patents, we can expect them to end up paying licensing fees for using the tech — that is if the case follows the traditional trajectory, of course. We've reached out for comment from the companies involved and will update as necessary.