Samsung Sues Nvidia, Velocity Micro; Nvidia Fires Back With Hilarious Retort

A few months ago, Nvidia sued Samsung and Qualcomm for alleged infringement on various GPU patents, despite the fact that these patents were ancient, extremely broad, and could easily be used to sue anyone in the mobile industry. Samsung responded this week by counter-suing Nvidia over an equally broad set of patents -- and then upped the ante by suing Velocity Micro.

Velocity Micro, if you haven't heard of them, is a small boutique builder in Richmond Virginia. This isn't a case of "David vs. Goliath" so much as a case of Goliath ambushing David in high school and beating him up for his lunch money. If Nvidia's lawsuit just "happened" to target the two firms who have stolen its market share thanks to repeated delays in Nvidia's own products, Samsung just "happened" to target a tiny company with a fast time to trial and convenient jurisdiction.

So far, this is all the kind of pointless arguing that enriches trial lawyers and not much else. What makes it amusing is that, buried in Samsung's filing, is the following claim:
Nvidia's claim that the Nvidia Shield tablet has the world's fastest mobile process is a false and misleading statement of fact. Rather, standard benchmarking tools such as Primate Labs' Geekbench 3 revea that the Tegra K1 SOC is not the world's fastest mobile processor.The Exynos 5433 SoC, as used in the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 mobile computing device, scores higher in both the single-core and multi-core Geekbench 3.
You know you've gotten desperate to make a point when you ask the court to rule on the finer points of mobile SoC marketing. Nvidia couldn't resist the temptation to poke fun at Samsung over this one -- as well as the opportunity to deliver a bit of strategic comeuppance.


Click to enlarge

Yeah. So, there's that.

There's no real right "side" to be on in this case. Nvidia has gone from utterly owning the dual core market with Tegra 2 to slipping far behind compared to other tablet OEMs. But Samsung suing Velocity Micro isn't just dubious, it's farcical. The PC industry is built on common standards -- there's nothing that VM could possibly have implemented that every other PC OEM in existence wouldn't immediately be guilty of.

As for claims that Samsung's hardware is sufficiently fast enough to invalidate Nvidia's claims, well, the graph above speaks for itself. In the long run, this is the kind of case that enriches no one but the lawyers. Samsung and Nvidia will almost certainly come to some sort of agreement (the details of which will be swept under the rug) and life will continue on as normal. It's an odd situation to begin with, given that Nvidia has already signaled that it plans to focus on a fraction of the high-end tablet market with an additional push into automotive, but evidently the GPU designer thought it could earn a little extra cash for shareholders by squeezing Samsung. Which of them ends up ponying up in the long run is still an open question.

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