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Scanner's VisionFlex 3D scanning system
Patent infringement over manufacturing techniques

A company called Scanner Technologies this week announced that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against NVIDIA. According to the press release, Scanner Technology claims that NVIDIA willingly sold products based on a 3D ball-grid array (BGA) inspection system that allows for more reliable products. The system also allows better manufacturing efficiency.

Scanner Technologies is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against NVIDIA, and hopes that it can get back legal and court fees as well. It is also seeking an undisclosed amount of damages from NVIDIA's product sales. According to Scanner Technologies:

The complaint alleges that nVidia has sold and/or is presently selling throughout the United States infringing BGA devices that are covered by one or more claims of the Scanner Patents. The complaint also alleges that nVidia has induced others to infringe. These BGA devices are a component in graphics cards, motherboards, computers, video game consoles, cell phones and handheld devices that are sold in the United States.

So far, NVIDIA has not responded to the suit. However, president and CEO of Scanner Technologies Elwin Beaty said "Scanner has been developing, manufacturing and selling vision equipment for the semiconductor industry since 1990. We believe that it is critical to protect our patented innovations, and accordingly took these actions today." The premise for the case is that NVIDIA developed its products using a similar technology to Scanner.

Sales for Scanner Technologies' products were up. The company ended June 30, 2006 with $1.57 million in sales compared to $955,000 for the same time last year.

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RE: Why havent nVidia responded?
By PrinceGaz on 9/19/2006 7:24:17 PM , Rating: 2
On an unrelated issue, I wonder why that VisionFlex thingy has a mini traffic-light signal sticking out the top of it (traffic-lights in the UK are Red, Amber, and Green with Red at the top).

RE: Why havent nVidia responded?
By phaxmohdem on 9/19/2006 8:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
I was actually thinking Wal-Mart Self Checkout lane light.

I'm sure its there to ensure that no underage kids purchase Rated R movies while scanning their BGA chips.

RE: Why havent nVidia responded?
By Poximex on 9/19/2006 9:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not going to pretend to know anything about manufacturing, but I do know the lights signal if the machine is working properly or has a problem on the assembly line.

By peternelson on 9/19/2006 10:42:14 PM , Rating: 2
Actually if you want some of these lights for your production line, I've seen them for sale from RS Components.

RE: Why havent nVidia responded?
By Giaour on 9/19/2006 10:54:04 PM , Rating: 3
Its used for applied lean manufacturing ... they are called ANDONs ... they are used for operations to do a visual check to see if the machine is working within established parameters ... and if not its helpful within an preventive maintenance routine as part of an OEE framework

RE: Why havent nVidia responded?
By shecknoscopy on 9/19/2006 11:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
On an unrelated issue, I wonder why that VisionFlex thingy has a mini traffic-light signal sticking out the top of it (traffic-lights in the UK are Red, Amber, and Green with Red at the top).

That, friends, is an "x-ray on" warning light. Or at least, in all the x-ray-utilizing equipment I've worked with (which is - now that I think about it - an eerie number), that's the warning indicator that lets you know if:

GREEN: the system is powering up,

YELLOW: the system is generating x-rays, but owing to a closed slit, is not releasing them to the outside environment or,

RED: Don't open up the shutter and look inside, moron, this thing's making x-rays.

SO, I don' know if this is an x-ray machine or not, but guess is it's using some sort of high energy or dangerous optics to scan the products, and hence needs to warn passers-by not to come too close.

Also, they direct traffic.


RE: Why havent nVidia responded?
By Johnmcl7 on 9/20/2006 7:13:16 AM , Rating: 2
Just looks like a standard set of lights to me, I've seen them on various different manufacturing machines to indicate the status of the machine which varies depending on implementation. Green means the machine is running properly, no maintenance possible, orange means the machine has halted and there's a problem, red means the machine has been manually stopped and maintenance is possible. There's no high energy or anything inside, simply lots of moving parts which you don't want to be moving while you're doing maintenance.


By lemonadesoda on 9/20/2006 12:41:47 PM , Rating: 2
No it isn't. There's no X-RAY cover on the machine

RE: Why havent nVidia responded?
By stephenfs on 9/20/2006 10:07:12 AM , Rating: 2
I work in a semi-conductor plant, basically you have a large floor with 20-50 probers (wafer level testing), handlers(package level testing), and many other machines to run parts through to test them. There are always jams, to many consecutive fails, etc... things that cause the machine to beep loudly, and the light to change from green to yellow and wait for help. The light just helps the operator find the machine that needs attention. There are machines from many companies, and every one has a light just like that.

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