Nvidia accused of patent infringement

Nvidia stands accused of infringing five US patents owned by OPTi, a company that focuses on protecting its intellectual property

Graphics processor manufacturer Nvidia has been accused of patent infringement by OPTi, a company based in California.

In a statement released on Tuesday, OPTi announced that it has filed a complaint against Nvidia Corporation in the Eastern District of Texas for the alleged infringement of five of OPTi's US patents.

Three of the patents are titled "Predictive Snooping of Cache Memory for Master-Initiated Accesses," and two are titled "Compact ISA-Bus Interface".

OPTi alleges that Nvidia infringes the patents by "making, selling, and offering for sale products based on and incorporating Predictive Snooping technology and the Low Pin Count Interface Specification in various of its products and inducing and contributing to the infringement of the patents by others".

OPTi has not said which specific Nvidia products its claim refers to. The company had not returned requests for comment at the time of writing.

"We believe that the technologies relating to our Predictive Snooping and Low Pin Count patents are valued components of our intellectual property, and we intend to vigorously defend all of our intellectual property rights," said Bernard Marren, OPTi's president and chief executive, in the statement.

Nvidia's US-based legal team said: "We have not been served and have not yet seen the complaint so we cannot comment at this stage."

In 2002, OPTi sold its semiconductor business to OPTi Technologies. At that time, Marren said that OPTi would turn its attention to protecting and enforcing its intellectual property rights.

"This deal eliminates our risk in inventory and accounts receivable if the semiconductor market continues to have weakness and provides the company with a revenue stream in the future. The sale also allows for the company to continue to reduce our operating expenses as we focus on what we perceive to be the true value to our shareholders, which is our intellectual property," said Marren in a 2002 statement.

Marren added that the company's board had decided it would be "prudent to postpone the liquidation plan to allow the company more time to evaluate its intellectual property position, including the means by which it would pursue claims for the potential infringement of certain of its patents".

The five patents which OPTi claims Nvidia has infringed are US patent numbers 5,710,906; 5,813,036; 6,405,291; 5,944,807; and 6,098,141.