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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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RE: quick
By Saist on 10/26/2006 7:33:17 AM , Rating: 3
I'm not so sure that SGI is and was a great company.

What you need to remember is that many of the better hardware designers at SGI had already split off several years ago into a Company called ArtX. Now, you might remember ArtX because they created an Electrically Efficient Graphics processor named Flipper. You might remember flipper as being the graphics processor behind the #2 console in world wide sales, the Nintendo Gamecube.

You might also remember then that before the Nintendo Gamecube launched, ATi bought ArtX up. This was news back in 2000 because it meant that many of the developers behind the OpenGL specification were now on ATi's payroll. ATi's turn around from Market-Dog with the 8500 to Market Leader with R300 and Catalyst is widely attributed to ArtX, aka SGI.

There have been several articles over the years between then and now detailing the Impact that ArtX had on ATi, and it widely reguarded that if ATi had not merged with ArtX, ATi would be in the position of a certain company called 3dfx... (which was bought up by Nvidia).

There have also been several editorials between the creation of ArtX, the sale to ATi, and now, about how the split from SGI resulted in SGI's descent into bankruptcy. It is not exactly an industry secret that the movers and shakers in ArtX, were the movers and shakers in SGI.

I think what we are going to find in this lawsuit is that the person who came up with this for SGI is currently on ATi's payroll, and probably is a high ranking withing ATi right now.

Quite frankly, if I was ATi, I wouldn't want to buy out the dirt when the diamonds were already mined... over 6 years ago.


“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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