Skip to main content

Nvidia Is Fighting Dish Network Over Next-Gen Hopper GPU Trademark

Trademark dispute nvidia
(Image credit: Nvidia / Dish Network)

It turns out that Nvidia has been embroiled in a pitched legal battle for the trademark to its next-generation Hopper GPUs with an unlikely foe: Dish Network. The latter contests Nvidia's 2019 filing of a trademark for the term 'Nvidia Hopper' on the grounds that it infringes upon its own 'Hopper' trademark. Dish Network uses the Hopper branding for its DVR and satellite receiver devices. It's easy to understand why Nvidia would like to trademark the 'Hopper' term — it's the rumored codename for its future GPUs. While there's little chance people would confuse Dish's devices with Nvidia's upcoming data center GPU, deciphering the legal ramifications are never easy.

The legal battle began on April 23, 2021, when Dish Network LLC filed a notice of opposition in the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) against Nvidia Corporation for its trademark of the term 'Nvidia Hopper.' Dish contends that Nvidia's trademark will be confused with its own trademarked terms, including Hopper, Hopper Go, Hopper Duo, Hopper Plus, and a few other variants.

The Nvidia trademark application under scrutiny is quite broad — it lists everything from a GPU, various software, 'cloud computing services,' and LCD devices as being under the umbrella of the 'Nvidia Hopper' term.

Hopper is the rumored codename of one of Nvidia's next-gen GPU architectures slated for arrival this year. In traditional Nvidia fashion, the architecture codename pays homage to a prominent scientist. In this case, it's the late Grace Hopper, who was a monumental figure in computing that developed the programming language COBOL and invented the first compiler, among many other achievements.

The Hopper GPU architecture is rumored to be a multi-chip module (MCM) design that leverages TSMC's 5nm node, and all signs point to this being an HPC-specific GPU design.

Dish vs Nvidia

(Image credit: USPTO)

After digging into the history of the long-running legal battle, it appears that the two companies have been negotiating a settlement since May of 2021, with periodic suspensions for settlement lodged over the preceding months. The last activity on the case came on December 23, 2021, with a fifth motion to suspend for a 60-day period as the two sides continue negotiations.

The various legal activities, like pre-trial discovery, are slated to resume automatically on February 22, 2022, if the two parties don't agree to a settlement or file for another motion to suspend proceedings. Given that Nvidia's Hopper GPUs are rumored to debut this year, we expect to hear word of a settlement sooner than later.

Nvidia is also expected to debut its next generation consumer GPUs, codenamed 'Ada' or 'Lovelace,' later this year. Unlike Hopper, we're not aware of any trademark disputes over those codenames. 

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.

  • InvalidError
    Seems weird to have a trademark fight over a name Nvidia is unlikely to use for anything beyond internal product family codename.
    Reply
  • VforV
    Nvidia is like Odin in GoW, needs to control and or destroy anything even remotely that can interfere with them, even before it happens if possible...
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    Hopper seems like it has such a long general meaning as a "storage space that provides ready access" that it should be difficult to use as a trademark.

    and using someone's name without their actual endorsement/permission seems questionable to me.
    Reply
  • mrv_co
    Seems odd that Nvidia thinks this is a name worth fighting over.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    nVidia should just give them the middle finger and make Dish take them to court for the judge to make a quick dismissal. Ever since Dish started marketing their Hopper DVR system, they've done so with their kangaroo logo, and they're losing subscribers for their TV and wireless services by the hundreds of thousands per quarter.

    Reply
  • watzupken
    That's why all these trademarks on name is silly in my opinion. Does that mean that a person's name is Hopper can sue any company or person using his/ her name? In the first place, the name Hopper is used for clearly different products in this case. So I don't really see a problem other than the fact that either one of them is just trying to be difficult.
    Reply
  • Endymio
    watzupken said:
    That's why all these trademarks on name is silly in my opinion. Does that mean that a person's name is Hopper can sue any company or person using his/ her name? In the first place, the name Hopper is used for clearly different products in this case. So I don't really see a problem other than the fact that either one of them is just trying to be difficult.
    NVidia isn't attempting to trademark the name simply for GPUs, but for software, cloud services, and LCD devices. It's silly to deny there's substantial overlap here. As for your hypothetical man named "Hopper", had he first registered his name for use in marketing a similar product, then yes he could sue. Otherwise, no.

    VforV said:
    Nvidia is like Odin in GoW, needs to control and or destroy anything even remotely that can interfere with them, even before it happens if possible...
    You realize, right, that it was Dish who filed this suit, not NVidia.
    Reply
  • Endymio
    InvalidError said:
    Seems weird to have a trademark fight over a name Nvidia is unlikely to use for anything beyond internal product family codename.
    If it were merely an internal codename, NVidia would not be seeking -- nor needing -- mark protection for it.
    Reply
  • helper800
    Some people are just not very legally aware as to what Trademarks or Copy Rights are and what they mean. I highly recommend watching some Legal Eagle on YouTube to better understand US Trademark and Copy Right law.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Just saw an advertisement for a mobile app called "Hopper". Why didn't Dish sue them?
    Reply