Nvidia Wins Trial Brought by Samsung Over Memory-Chip Patent

Nvidia Corp. won a scaled back patent-infringement trial brought by Samsung Electronics Co. over computer-memory chip technology, potentially tipping the scales in a fight between the two over royalties for computer graphics.

Nvidia fended off a claim that it infringed a patent owned by Samsung, in a federal jury trial in Richmond, Virginia, said Friday. The case had originally started with four Samsung patents and was whittled down to just one after Samsung dropped one patent before trial and the judge ordered a mistrial on two others.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case, which reflects the jury’s careful attention to the facts and the law that applied,” said Hector Marinez, an Nvidia spokesman.

Samsung filed the complaint in November 2014 in retaliation for patent-infringement claims lodged by Nvidia. While this trial was over memory chips, the dispute began after two years of licensing talks failed over graphics processors needed to play games and watch movies on smartphones and tablet devices, Nvidia has said.

Nvidia is trying open up new revenue streams by forcing rivals to pay for what that company says are unique products its researchers invented and designed. Samsung is countering by arguing that Nvidia is using its inventions in memory chips without permission.

Computer graphics cards powered by Nvidia’s chips also depend on the amount of memory semiconductors attached to them. Those memory chips are are made by Samsung and its competitors.

The suit was filed in one of the fastest federal courts in the country to put it on the same track as cases pending at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington.

Nvidia lost its ITC case against Samsung in December, the same month a trade judge said Nvidia infringed three Samsung patents. Nvidia is challenging both decisions.

The case is Samsung Electronics Co. v. Nvidia Corp., 14cv757, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond).

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