updated 09:25 pm EST, Fri November 18, 2011
Graphics Properties Holdings claims video tech
The company resulting from the liquidation of once-giant workstation developer Silicon Graphics, Graphics Properties Holdings, hoped to profit from the work of the smartphone and TV industries after it quietly filed an International Trade Commission dispute late this week against key companies. It alleges that Apple, HTC, LG, RIM, Samsung, Sony, and Sony Ericsson are violating three patents for video technology. The patents appear to cover obvious technology, including floating point math to render the image, parcel instruction processing, and even widescreen LCD displays.
Most of the claims are against smartphones, such as the BlackBerry Torch, HTC Evo 4G, Apple iPhone 4, LG Thrill 4G, and Samsung Galaxy S. GPH goes so far as to bring the iPad 2 into the dispute, however, as well as LG and Sony TV sets. It points to IBM's Power 7 chips and Microsoft's Xbox 360 already licensing the technology.
Unlike many such disputes, GPH isn't pairing the ITC complaint with a private lawsuit and is focused less on damages than on licensing the technology. The request for a potential ban, however, will likely serve as pressure on the involved companies to agree to GPH's terms.
The potential success of the ITC dispute depends both on whether or not the ITC agrees to investigate, which isn't guaranteed, as well as issues surrounding not just the patents themselves but GPH's right to complain. It argues that the IBM and Microsoft licenses, although not actual products, constitute "domestic industry" that gives it a stake in the country.