updated 07:30 pm EDT, Fri July 1, 2011
Apple found infringing on two S3 patents
The International Trade Commission (ITC) has made a preliminary ruling (PDF) that Apple has infringed upon two of four patent claims against the company made by S3 Graphics. The initial ruling made by an administrative law judge will go before a six-member commission, which will deliver its final verdict in November. S3 Graphics first filed its current patent suit with the ITC in June last year, claiming that Apple copied its graphics texture compression technology in its Mac and iOS product lines.
Apple responded to S3 Graphics' claims by initiating a counter-suit claiming that S3 Graphics was also infringing on patents it holds. Such a strategy is designed to help stop any restraint of trade order taking effect should Apple lose any part of the claim, as has happened in this case. S3's initial suit requested the immediate suspension of Apple's sales of the offending products.
While Apple's counter-claim against S3 is pending, it will allow its team of lawyers to either strike a more favorable licensing deal, or an opportunity to study the initial ruling and lodge a counter argument. S3 currently licenses its texture compression technology to companies including Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. [via CNET]