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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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How do you find out about something like this?
By mgambrell on 9/19/2006 7:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
How do you find out about something like this? It sounds like their technique/machine is just helpful in creating a more precisely manufactured chip... i dont think it leaves telltale signs.. it is just a measurement device. Or so it appears. So how can anyone know? Did someone leak that fact to scanner?

By peternelson on 9/19/2006 7:49:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the patents appear to deal with aspects of the MANUFACTURING of the BGA device in a certain way so that it can be tested:

U.S. Patent 7,079,678, which is assigned to Scanner Technologies, is entitled “Electronic Component Products Made According to a Process that Includes a Method for Three Dimensional Inspection” and discloses a patented process which is directed to a step in the manufacture of a BGA device.

U.S. Patent 7,085,411, also assigned to Scanner Technologies, is entitled “Method of Manufacturing Electronic Components Including a Method for Three Dimensional Inspection,” discloses a method of manufacturing a BGA device.

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