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Apple, Samsung & Sony sued over graphics processing patent

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
A patent holder has taken aim at Apple — along with Samsung, Sony and others — for allegedly infringing upon inventions related to graphics processing.

Graphics Property Holdings Inc., formerly known as Silicon Graphics Inc., has sued a total of six companies in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., according to Reuters. Other companies targeted in the suit were Research in Motion, LG and HTC.

Specifically accused of infringement in the complaints are Apple's iPhone Samsung's Galaxy S and Galaxy S II smartphones, RIM's BlackBerry Torch and more. As is the norm for such complaints, Graphics Properties seeks to halt the sales of devices, including the iPhone, with a court injunction.

The six companies were each targeted with six individual lawsuits against each smartphone maker. All six complaints were filed in the District of Delaware.

Other devices targeted in the complaints are the HTC EVO 4G, the LG Thrill, and Sony's Xperia Play line of smartphones. The devices have been targeted over a patent related to turning text and images into pixels on a mobile display.

Graphics Properties Holdings has an established history of pursuing Apple and others with patent infringement suits. The two companies traded filings last November, which each accusing the other of patent infringement.

Apple was first sued by Silicon Graphics in November of 2010. The original company filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and sold much of its operations to Rackable Systems Inc., while its remaining business is run by investors out of New Rochelle, New York.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 28
huh.

i remember when the labs filled with SGI Indigo 2's were the cream of the crop, and there was await list to get on them.

Honestly, i havent even thought about the company in over ten years. i am sure they have a good deal of IP to protect...


post #3 of 28
Apple gets sued...isn't this a daily occurrence?

Meanwhile....Apple lawyers start a new file and continue work as usual.
post #4 of 28
I was curious about this and assume others are as well. From Reuters:

"The patent at issue relates to a computer graphics process that turns text and images into pixels to be displayed on screens."

Dang. I'm still curious for more...
post #5 of 28
Is this akin to someone, on a lark, getting a patent for a round screen ten years ago and then out of the blue round screens suddenly being made and now the makers have to pay up for the idea of a round screen?

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post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post

I was curious about this and assume others are as well. From Reuters:

"The patent at issue relates to a computer graphics process that turns text and images into pixels to be displayed on screens."

Dang. I'm still curious for more...

Like what the patents are and when they were filed and issued. And is the process in software? Or in the GPU in the devices?
post #7 of 28
Are we sure this is related to THAT SGI? As far as I know, they are still quite successful, having changed gears from high-end proprietary graphics workstations to the high-performance computing/supercomputing market...



Quote:
Originally Posted by sandor View Post

huh.

i remember when the labs filled with SGI Indigo 2's were the cream of the crop, and there was await list to get on them.

Honestly, i havent even thought about the company in over ten years. i am sure they have a good deal of IP to protect...


post #8 of 28
Lets not give Apple a pass. They hire people to find IP thy can use and then deal with any potentials consequences down the road. They steal, Sony steals and the beat goes on.
With a 100 billion war chest of cha ching they can afford a settlement.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

Are we sure this is related to THAT SGI? As far as I know, they are still quite successful, having changed gears from high-end proprietary graphics workstations to the high-performance computing/supercomputing market...


yup, same one.

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patentl...t-lawsuit.html

they have been defending patents since they filed for bankruptcy and reorganized a few years ago.
post #10 of 28
A big difference here is Silicon Graphics long history developing graphical hardware. The key here is that Apple has also been an industry leader here. In otherwords this isn't, or maybe I should say wasn't a fly by night patent trol. SGI literally invented much of what we see today.
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

A big difference here is Silicon Graphics long history developing graphical hardware. The key here is that Apple has also been an industry leader here. In otherwords this isn't, or maybe I should say wasn't a fly by night patent trol. SGI literally invented much of what we see today.

So they waited to sue everyone until Apple hit 600$??? Patent troll, period.

The ability to turn images and text into pixels??????? OMG. Do you know how television works??????

Just a thought.
en
post #12 of 28
Quote:
The original company filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and sold much of its operations to Rackable Systems Inc.

More like Racketeering Systems, LOL

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post #13 of 28
So what potential losses will this company have by halting "the sales of devices, including the iPhone, with a court injunction."

This is not like Apple wanting to halt sales of the Galaxy Tab because Apple stands to lose sales of the iPad if the Tab remains on the market.

This company has no products on the market, and it is just a bunch of patents and lawyers.

The only reason to ask for an injunction is to try and blackmail the companies into licensing patents instead of the companies fighting the patents if they believe they are invalid (note that patent licenses usually state that the licensee will not attempt to discredit the patent).
post #14 of 28
At one point SGI was going to kick everyone butts, Sun and other workstation companies were serious concerned about them eating their lunches due to all their graphics technologies they had in the 90's then like many others they lost their way and it all fell apart. Now they have been reduce to be patent trolls.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

So what potential losses will this company have by halting "the sales of devices, including the iPhone, with a court injunction."

This is not like Apple wanting to halt sales of the Galaxy Tab because Apple stands to lose sales of the iPad if the Tab remains on the market.

This company has no products on the market, and it is just a bunch of patents and lawyers.

The only reason to ask for an injunction is to try and blackmail the companies into licensing patents instead of the companies fighting the patents if they believe they are invalid (note that patent licenses usually state that the licensee will not attempt to discredit the patent).

Apple admitted that the Tab would mostly steal sales from Android rather than the ipad. It was mentioned in a previous article, or maybe I'm thinking of another Apple vs. Samsung suit. I don't see any requests for an injunction on any of the links. Did I miss it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eldernorm View Post

So they waited to sue everyone until Apple hit 600$??? Patent troll, period.

The ability to turn images and text into pixels??????? OMG. Do you know how television works??????

Just a thought.
en

Don't be a troll. Even the article notes prior filings, so yours is already a jackass statement. You don't really know how long this has been going. They had to do the research. They may have approached each of these companies before filing a suit. If offers were rejected, they still needed time to prepare their filings. The first suit was noted as 2010. That was before they hit $400. This is a company that goes back decades, much like Apple.
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Now they have been reduce to be patent trolls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eldernorm View Post

So they waited to sue everyone until Apple hit 600$??? Patent troll, period.

I really hate when people who don't understand patents scream 'patent troll' all the time.

First, SGI isn't a patent troll even by the broadest definition. They made a business out of the use of computers for graphics, so they have a right to obtain value from their inventions.

In addition, the term has no meaning except to people who don't understand the concept of intellectual property. If I buy a patent, I buy all the rights granted by that patent, including the right to sue. It's no different than if I own a factory. I can use it to produce something or rent it to someone else (or even sell it). The fact that I am not using it to produce goods doesn't give you the right to move in and start using it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eldernorm View Post

The ability to turn images and text into pixels??????? OMG. Do you know how television works??????

Do you understand how patents work? SGI will have made some specific claims on a particular method for turning images and text into pixels. If the patent is valid and Apple is using the process described in the claims, they are infringing. Apple will, of course, have the right to use 'prior art' to try to invalidate the patent. In any event, it will never come down to something as trivial as 'turning images and text into pixels'. Patents have very specific claims and without knowing the claims, you have no way of knowing if Apple is infringing or not.

Not to mention, of course, that TVs and computers operate by very different processes, anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eldernorm View Post

Just a thought.
en

Not much of one.
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandor View Post

yup, same one.

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patentl...t-lawsuit.html

they have been defending patents since they filed for bankruptcy and reorganized a few years ago.

For some definitions of "same". When they went bankrupt, they sold all their assets to Rackable Systems including their name which Rackable Systems promptly assumed.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by eldernorm View Post

The ability to turn images and text into pixels??????? OMG. Do you know how television works??????

In relation to this particular set of lawsuits, no. Why don't you teach us?

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post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluefish86 View Post

For some definitions of "same". When they went bankrupt, they sold all their assets to Rackable Systems including their name which Rackable Systems promptly assumed.

So? Unless you can prove that the patent transfer was fraudulent, the new SGI has the same rights to enforce the patents as the old SGI.
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post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A patent holder has taken aim at Apple along with Samsung, Sony and others for allegedly infringing upon inventions related to graphics processing.

Those that can, innovate.

Those that cannot...get sued.
post #21 of 28
Source: http://www.sgi.com/company_info/news.../rackable.html

Quote:
Rackable Systems Announces Agreement to Acquire Silicon Graphics Inc.

FREMONT, CA and SUNNYVALE, CA., April 1, 2009 Rackable Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:RACK), a leading provider of servers and storage products for medium to large-scale data centers, today announced its agreement to acquire substantially all the assets of Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) (NASDAQ: SGIC) for approximately $25 million in cash, subject to adjustment in certain circumstances, plus the assumption of certain liabilities associated with the acquired assets.

The combined businesses will provide customers with market leading hardware and software technology within large-scale x86 cluster computing, HPC, Internet, Cloud Computing, large-scale data storage environments and visualization platforms across many verticals and geographies. This combination is also expected to result in a stronger global services organization; reaching commercial, government and scientific sectors on a worldwide basis.

"The combined company will be positioned to solve the most demanding business and technology challenges our customers confront today," said Mark J. Barrenechea, president and CEO of Rackable Systems. "In addition, this combination gives us the potential for significant operational synergies, a strong balance sheet, and positions the combined company for long-term growth and profitability."

"We have been working very hard to strengthen our company, and today, we've taken another big step in that direction," stated Robert "Bo" Ewald, CEO of Silicon Graphics. "This transaction represents a compelling opportunity for Silicon Graphics' customers, partners and employees, who can all benefit from the emerging stronger company with better technologies, products and markets reach."

Barrenechea added, "Together, we believe we will be a much stronger entity with great products and people offering a compelling proposition to compete more effectively in, and across, our collective markets."

Rackable has signed an Asset Purchase Agreement to acquire substantially all the assets of SGI, and to assume certain liabilities relating to the assets, pursuant to Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, under which SGI filed its petition in New York on April 1, 2009. Completion of the transaction is subject to a number of closing conditions, including the approval of the Bankruptcy Court, and other uncertainties. Subject to such conditions and uncertainties, the transaction is expected to close within approximately 60 days. It is expected that SGI's business operations will continue during the pre-closing period. SGI's international operations would be part of the sale, but would not be part of the bankruptcy process.

Rackable also announced today that it had suspended its previously announced program including the repurchase of up to $40 million of the company's stock.

Conference Call Information
Rackable Systems will discuss the intent to acquire SGI in a conference call at 2:00 p.m. PST today. The public is invited to listen to a live web cast of the call on the Investor Relations section of the Rackable's website at investors.rackable.com. A replay of the webcast will be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call and remain available until the next earnings call. An audio replay of the conference call will also be made available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call. The audio replay will remain available for five days and can be accessed by dialing 1-719-457-0820 or toll free 888-203-1112 and entering the confirmation code: 6691284.

About Rackable Systems
Rackable Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: RACK) is a leading provider of Eco-Logical servers and storage for medium- to large-scale data center deployments. Rackable's products, available for purchase or lease, are designed to provide benefits in the areas of density, thermal efficiency, serviceability, power distribution, data center mobility and remote management. Founded in 1999 and based in Fremont, California, Rackable Systems is a founding member of The Green Grid and serves cloud computing and services, enterprise software, federal government, digital media, financial services, oil and gas exploration and HPC customers worldwide. Additional information available at www.rackable.com.

About Silicon Graphics Inc (SGI)
SGI (NASDAQ: SGIC), is a leader in high-performance computing. SGI delivers a complete range of high-performance server, visualization, and storage solutions along with industry-leading professional services and support that enable its customers to overcome the challenges of complex data-intensive workflows and accelerate breakthrough discoveries, innovation and information transformation. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, the company can be found on the Web at www.sgi.com

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the proposed acquisition, anticipated product performance, general business outlook and projected results of operations. Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from forward-looking statements due to a number of risks and uncertainties including: the risk that the bankruptcy court may not approve the proposed acquisition; negotiations with SGI or conditions to closing of the acquisition may fail; competing parties may outbid Rackable in the bankruptcy proceedings; liabilities assumed by Rackable in the acquisition may be greater than anticipated; key personnel may not remain with Rackable following the closing; the anticipated synergies of the combined companies and the potential cost reductions may not be achieved; and the combined operations may not be successfully integrated in a timely manner, if at all. Detailed information about other potential factors that could affect Rackable Systems' business, financial condition and results of operations is included in Rackable Systems' annual report on Form 10-K under the caption "Risk Factors," in Part I, Item 1A of that report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") on March 19, 2009, as updated by Rackable Systems' subsequent filings with the SEC, all of which are available at the SEC's Web site at http://www.sec.gov. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this report. Rackable Systems undertakes no responsibility to update the information in this report.

Additional Information:
Contact Information for Rackable Systems:

Mark Paisley
Senior Director, Investor Relations
Rackable Systems, Inc.
510-933-8382
investorrelations@rackable.com
Jen Spark
Schwartz Communications
(415) 512-0770
rackablesystems@schwartz-pr.com

Contact Information for Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI):

Bob Pette
Silicon Graphics, Inc.
Vice President, Corporate Marketing
408-524-2810

Now if any here believe SGI had significant valuation in their Patent IP Portfolio, please explain the lack of interest by third parties to purchase it to insulate themselves from it.

FWIW: http://www.google.com/finance?q=SGI

Present Market Cap Value: $324.02 Million.

In short, they do not have significant IP left.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Now if any here believe SGI had significant valuation in their Patent IP Portfolio, please explain the lack of interest by third parties to purchase it to insulate themselves from it.

FWIW: http://www.google.com/finance?q=SGI

Present Market Cap Value: $324.02 Million.

In short, they do not have significant IP left.

Really? You don't consider $324 M to be of significant value?

Furthermore, market cap is not a reasonable estimate of market value of the technology. For example, most estimates put the value of Kodak's IP at $2-3 B, but their market cap is only $88 M (or about 1/4 of SGI's).
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post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I really hate when people who don't understand patents scream 'patent troll' all the time.

First, SGI isn't a patent troll even by the broadest definition. They made a business out of the use of computers for graphics, so they have a right to obtain value from their inventions.

In addition, the term has no meaning except to people who don't understand the concept of intellectual property. If I buy a patent, I buy all the rights granted by that patent, including the right to sue. It's no different than if I own a factory. I can use it to produce something or rent it to someone else (or even sell it). The fact that I am not using it to produce goods doesn't give you the right to move in and start using it.



Do you understand how patents work? SGI will have made some specific claims on a particular method for turning images and text into pixels. If the patent is valid and Apple is using the process described in the claims, they are infringing. Apple will, of course, have the right to use 'prior art' to try to invalidate the patent. In any event, it will never come down to something as trivial as 'turning images and text into pixels'. Patents have very specific claims and without knowing the claims, you have no way of knowing if Apple is infringing or not.

Not to mention, of course, that TVs and computers operate by very different processes, anyway.



Not much of one.

Actually, in this case the definition used by many companies, a patent troll are companies who in themselves have not real assets or products, therefore, the only way they make money is by trolling around and forcing companies to license their IP in fear they will be sued or come after companies after the fact and sue them.

In this case, when SGI was a real company, yeah they may have gone after Apple and others. In most IP disputes a company like Apple if they believe SGI had a in rights to SGI IP. Or Apple could turn around and sue them since Apple obviously has lots of IP around graphics and how it is displayed on a screen. Most companies generally will not sue one another since each company could have their own war chest of IP as well as they risk their own products infringe on IP which they could be forced to license or stop making. Most companies will not risk this.

However, IP only companies can sue at will with not risk of reprisal, since it very hard to sue a IP company since they make no products.

In the case of SGI, they sold of or transfer the IP to a none product company who are only investors in the IP so by definition they are trolls they bring no value to the table other than trying to extort money from product making companies.

BTY, the history behind SGI it was made up lots of engineering from Apple, Sun and HP at the time. Arguable they may be more of gatherers than inventors of their technology.

Back to my point at one time SGI was a good company with lots of very smart people which lost its way.
post #24 of 28
I am an AAPL shareholder and an Apple fan for nearly 34 years...

That said, I do not agree with everything Apple does (or has done) and that the sun shined out of the butt of Steve Jobs and now Tim Cook... or any executive.


But, dealing with existing patents is a complicated process..

1) Apple could have been unaware of an existing patent or that [potentially] Apple's technology infringes that patent.

2) Apple could have been aware of the existing patent and believes that Apple's technology does not infringe that patent.

3) The patent is unclear (or Apple believes it is invalid) and Apple wants to test it the validity -- going to court and settling, if necessary,

4) Apple is aware of the patent, believes it is valid, believes that Apple's technology infringes and decides to go ahead anyway -- thinking that they will not get caught or not have to pay a significant enough penalty to not go forward.

The last, 4) is apparently what Google decided to do with Java.


I do not believe Apple would do 4) as there is little advantage.

For cases 1), 2), 3), I believe that Apple well could have decided to go forward with Apple's technology -- going forward, likely, is the most efficient way to proceed, let the patent owner identify potential infringement, test it in court and settle, if necessary.


When I worked at IBM, there was the general consensus that IBM had all these high-paid legal minds on the payroll -- might as well put them to use, and at the same time update their current knowledge and hone their legal skills.

Some of that may be happening here,
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post #25 of 28
"There's no doubt about the fact that Graphics Property Holdings Inc gets no joy from all this litigation going on around it.

But when you don't have a choice, you've got to go for it, and when you go for it, you have to go all out for it. "
post #26 of 28
eBay has become a virtual goldmine for SGI and SUN machines. I bought a SGI Tezro last year for 1200 EUR loaded. Anyone interested in 3D work should really pick one up. I know there are much faster machines that you can put together nowadays but they will also cost you more then 6,000.

You can pick an entire rack-mounts filled to the gill with multi processor MIPS goodness and it will cost less then a fully equipped iMac. Goldmine I tell you, goldmine.
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post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by eldernorm View Post

So they waited to sue everyone until Apple hit 600$??? Patent troll, period.

Why would the stock price entice them to sue? I would have thought the huge bank balance would have been a better target
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

So? Unless you can prove that the patent transfer was fraudulent, the new SGI has the same rights to enforce the patents as the old SGI.

This may be just a re-filing of the earlier suit with updated corporate identity to meet some legal necessity.
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