Almost three months after NVIDIA defended several instances of its alleged patent infringement which Samsung accused them of, the two companies settled out of court regarding the last one of those disputes by agreeing to license a limited number of patents to each other, their spokespeople revealed in a joint statement given to the media on Monday. The settlement was reached mere hours prior to the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) were due to announce its final verdict on the case. In short, Samsung filed a patent infringement claim against NVIDIA for the way the latter was making its graphics-processing chips for the NVIDIA SHIELD tablets like the SHIELD Tablet K1. The South Korean company claimed that NVIDIA is infringing no less than three of its patents with the said device and Samsung has already lost the first phase of the aforementioned civil case which was originally started in Virginia.
According to Samsung, the infringed patents enabled NVIDIA to not only make better-performing chips but also to save on their manufacturing costs. NVIDIA addressed the accusation by claiming that Samsung is grasping at straws and is accusing them of infringing patents that Samsung is no longer even using anymore. In addition to that, the company's lawyers argued that even if found guilty, the controversial patents shouldn't warrant an import ban which is customary in lost patent disputes because they are only responsible for some minor features of NVIDIA's chips. In addition to the California-based company, Samsung also sued some of NVIDIA's customers such as EliteGroup Computer Systems, Jaton, and Biostar Microtech International. The companies' spokespeople revealed that this settlement will officially end all litigation in the ITC, district court, and the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The root cause of this dispute lies in the fact that for a long time, NVIDIA has asking its competitors in the mobile GPU market to pay licensing fees for what the company claims is their own uniquely developed technology installed on mobile GPU chips. On the other hand, its products rely on memory chips attached to them which are manufactured by other parties such as Samsung, and in this particular case – the South Korean company claimed that NVIDIA was infringing on their patents related to the said memory chips and the exact process by which they were manufactured.