updated 01:17 am EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Samsung-made graphics chips at issue, used in both iOS and Android devices
Audio-Visual products manufacturer Creative Technology, through their ZiiLabs (formerly 3D Labs) subsidiary, is suing Samsung and accusing the Galaxy maker of infringing on 10 patents used in graphics system-on-chip designs for mobile and desktop devices. Both Apple and Samsung are named in the suit, as Samsung provides or formerly provided some of its own SoC components to some of Apple's devices.
Whether Apple, through its use of Samsung to fabricate chips, is still infringing on the patents is unclear, reports AppleInsider. Apple now uses its own custom-designed but ARM-based chips since the introduction of the A6 in the iPhone 5. The lawsuit claims that Samsung's infringement extends all the way into the A7 SoCs, which would include the latest iPhone and iPad devices.
In addition, the suit names MacBooks, iMacs and Mac Pros -- even though the processors and graphics systems used in those devices come mostly from Intel (the Mac Pro relies on AMD-based discreet graphics cards, and the MacBook Pros use both Intel and Nvidia graphics systems). As the case moves into discovery, some of the claims may be amended or dropped if Apple or Samsung can prove that the allegedly-infringing SoC components are not used in those products. The suit also names nearly every device Samsung has made in recent years.
The case was filed in the Eastern District of Texas Federal Court, which has a reputation of being biased in favor of patent holders who make infringement claims . The patents involved all center around graphics and video processing, and Samsung does in fact make its SoC chips for Apple at a plant in Austin, Texas. ZiiLabs is seeking both past and future damages as well as product injunctions. No hearing date has yet been announced.