Print 37 comment(s) - last by ToeCutter.. on Oct 27 at 10:20 PM

Patent infringement suits ramp up for the holiday season

In what appears to be a bit of a shocker in the industry, Silicon Graphics Inc. this week filed a patent infringement lawsuit against ATI Technologies Inc. Current details on the patent infringement is short but SGI is claiming that ATI infringed on SGI U.S. Patent No. 6,650,327, which covers some technical aspect of graphics processing. Details on what exactly the patent is about was also omitted.

Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) is also seeking damages at an unspecified amount and an injunction, stopping ATI from developing and shipping graphics processors that infringe on SGI's patents. At this time, it's not clear what ATI has done, or if ATI will respond with its own lawsuit since both companies have been developing graphics technologies for quite a number of years.

"The Company's technology covered by the '327 patent is an important resource in achieving enhanced graphics processing demanded by today's computer systems," said Dennis McKenna, chief executive officer of Silicon Graphics. The company also indicated that whatever patent 327 was, it also licensed it for use with a number of ATI's competitors -- although the company did not indicate which companies were using the patent.

ATI itself recently completed the final stages of its merger with AMD. ATI shareholders approved of the merger in a recent meeting and both companies are now one. Neither AMD nor it's ATI division had anything to say about SGI's lawsuit.

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By Crusader on 10/25/2006 12:53:28 PM , Rating: 0
Nvidia paid for the use of these patents. ATI didnt. This lawlessness cant be tolerated and SGI is doing what they have to.

Someone above mentioned why SGI hasnt been bought out.. they basically have.. much of their high end engineering went to Nvidia.

RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 10/25/2006 1:48:38 PM , Rating: 3
The point people are trying to make is that it's an invalid patent. The patent in question is similar to patenting to logic behind the if statement. You shouldn't be able to patent using floating point values in a calculation for processing graphics data. Of course you have to do that. It's possible ATI didn't even know the patent existed.

If you were writing software that involved reading in a file, would you check to see if theres a patent on the idea of reading data into a buffer?

If SGI had this patent, they should have disclosed it or brought it up with ATI long before this. To me this is similar to the Blackberry patent lawsuit.

RE: Good
By DigitalFreak on 10/25/2006 1:56:40 PM , Rating: 2
Just because a company licensed a patented technology doesn't mean the patent is valid. At the time, it may have just been cheaper for them to pay the fee than go through a long and protracted court battle. Hopefully AMD will stand it's ground an crush SGI on this.

Maybe SGI is turning into another SCO...

RE: Good
By ToeCutter on 10/25/2006 2:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe SGI is turning into another SCO...

Too funny!

SGI put up a HUGE stink when SCO terminated SGI's System V license for IRIX a few years ago!

RE: Good
By s12033722 on 10/25/2006 3:15:19 PM , Rating: 2
No. Nvidia bought 3DFX. SGI is not 3DFX and continued to exist well after 3DFX went down.

RE: Good
By ToeCutter on 10/27/2006 10:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
No. Nvidia bought 3DFX. SGI is not 3DFX and continued to exist well after 3DFX went down.

Allow me to clarify:

-3Dfx was formed by former SGI employees. No implication that SGI became 3Dfx.

-SGI acquired Intergraph's Win32 workstation line and re-badged them as the SGI Visual line.

-The SGI Visual line used graphics subsystems by SGI (Cobalt), Number9, and even Intel(!) and ATI(!!!).

My confusion surrounding Intergraph stemmed from Intergraph offering the Voodoo-based Intense3D right about the same time SGI acquired the Intergraph workstation line.

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