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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: Risk Management...
By peternelson on 9/19/2006 10:40:19 PM , Rating: 2
By the way from a 1st August press release for the company, the two patents they are now suing Nvidia with were only granted to them very recently. They have in the past attacked others by taking out BGA lawsuits in the past, based on their other earlier patents.

Reminds me of a certain company <cough> Rambus <cough> in the memory market ;-)

RE: Risk Management...
By Tyler 86 on 9/19/2006 11:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't Rambus win a lawsuit?

Whether or not they're playing nice, fair, or dirty - it's up to the system to decide...

For no visible reason, I constantly find far to much prejudice among the tech industry...

It's absolutely proper in the financial world to negatively generalize about a company reguarding it's legal policies, but such prejudice spreads far to easily, influencing other fields as well.

Rambus isn't a bad company. They've had plenty of negative press, although they hold some impressive technical contributions.
Noteworthily, their trace-length reduction technology...

Perhaps this company is like SCO, who's prejudice I believe was not so much prejudice as due judgement...

Either way... Leave the <cough>coughing</cough> out of it.

RE: Risk Management...
By peternelson on 9/20/2006 11:56:51 AM , Rating: 2
My principal issue with Rambus is an ethical one.

They participated in the development of memory standards.

During these discussions they failed to mention that the standards they and the others were developing infringed on their patents.

They steered things so that the industry agreed on those standards. By the time rambus were no longer involved the direction had so much momentum behind it it was passed anyway.

Later, once everyone is making them, selling them, using them, Rambus "discover" the patents they had all along on the technology and demand huge licensing fees.

At very least it is unethical.

I suggest those setting standards, definitively establish any/all patents required to implement them. Claims should be made before standards are ratified. If there are too many claims then a different standard can be adopted, with less overheads.

RE: Risk Management...
By Tyler 86 on 9/20/2006 1:01:45 PM , Rating: 2
So let me get this straight...

Rambus & Micron et al. sitting around a table, developing memory standards...

Why shouldn't they use their IP in such a situation?
Did the other developers taboo the practice?

If someone was to take for granted my intellectual property in such a manner, I would wait untill it has high potential benefit for me before I call it up...

Standards are free-for-alls.
Standards have nothing to do with fair use.
It should be the developers job to only unquestionably implement the portion of development they themselves contributed, and to question the implementation of the rest in it's entirity, and not at all the least legally.

You can't optimize a 'standardization' process, it's supposed to be sloppy; it's one of the simplest developments of free enterprise, even if it has the potential to be it's worst.

That's why 802.11n, WiMAX, etc. take so long to come about.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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