By Eric Schweibenz and Alex Englehart
On December 29, 2017, ZiiLabs Inc., Ltd. of Bermuda (“ZiiLabs”) filed a complaint (part 1 and part 2) requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that the following entities (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain graphics processors and products containing the same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,181,355 (the ’355 patent), 6,900,800 (the ’800 patent), 8,144,156 (the ’156 patent), and 8,643,659 (the ’659 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”):

  • ASUSTek Computer Inc. of Taiwan
  • ASUS Computer International of Fremont, California
  • EVGA Corp. of Brea, California
  • Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. of Taiwan
  • G.B.T. Inc. of City of Industry, California
  • Micro-Star International Co., Ltd. of Taiwan
  • MSI Computer Corp. of City of Industry, California
  • Nintendo Co., Ltd. of Japan
  • Nintendo of America Inc. of Redmond, Washington
  • Nvidia Corp. of Santa Clara, California
  • PNY Technologies Inc. of Parsippany, New Jersey
  • Zotac International (MCO) Ltd. of Macau
  • Zotac USA Inc. of Duarte, California

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to graphics processor technology. In particular, the ’355 patent relates to implementing complex mathematical functions in a graphics processor using a set of lookup tables, with each table containing a set of values corresponding to a function. The ’800 patent relates to rendering patches (or tiles) of pixels to allow for efficient rendering of a scene. The ’156 patent relates to a parallel graphics processing architecture that resolves latency issues by not running a sequencer in lock-step with the processing elements. Lastly, the ’659 patent relates to graphics rendering hardware for graphics shader programs.

The complaint states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents. The complaint specifically refers to various graphics cards, desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, mobile workstations, streaming media players, data centers, and gaming consoles associated with the Proposed Respondents as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, ZiiLabs states that a domestic industry exists based on the U.S. activities of ZiiLabs’s licensee Intel Corp (“Intel”). ZiiLabs contends that certain Intel products practice at least one claim of each of the asserted patents and that Intel’s domestic investments relating to such products are significant and substantial. ZiiLabs further states that it believes that Intel will provide additional information in discovery that will further support ZiiLabs’s domestic industry allegations.

As to related litigation, ZiiLabs refers to ITC Inv. No. 337-TA-1037, where ZiiLabs accused a different set of Respondents of infringing the ’659 patent and other patents. ZiiLabs notes that the 337-TA-1037 investigation was terminated on the basis of settlement. See our August 29, 2017 post for more details. ZiiLabs also refers to two pending litigations against Nvidia Corp. (“Nvidia”) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, where ZiiLabs is accusing Nvidia of infringing the asserted patents and other patents.

With respect to potential remedy, ZiiLabs requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order directed at the domestic Proposed Respondents.