VIA Technologies filed complaints with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) and the US District Court of Delaware yesterday for patent infringement by Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple TV
product lines, and associated software.
VIA of Taipei, Taiwan claims that Apple of Cupertino, California is violating patent law by not licensing their technology specifically covered by:
• US Patent No. 6253312, Method and apparatus for double operand load,
• US Patent Nos. 6253311 & 6754810, Instruction set for bi-directional conversion and transfer of integer and floating point data.
Wenchi Chen, CEO, VIA Technologies
said in their press release: "VIA has built up an extensive IP portfolio consisting of over 5,000 patents as a result of significant investments in world class technology research and development. We are determined to protect our interests and the interests of our stockholders when our patents are infringed upon."
If you are wondering why a second-tier x86 microprocessor company would go after Apple, here is some background:
VIA's CPU subsidiary, Centaur Technology of Austin, Texas
has literally hundreds of basic patents on basic microprocessor technology. In August 1999, Centaur was purchased by VIA Technologies. Centaur founder and President, Glenn Henry
, is an engineer who was a fellow at IBM for 21 years and a senior vice president at Dell. Henry is known as an eloquent evangelist for low-power CPUs.
In 2003, VIA and Intel came to an understanding and cross-licensed VIA’s basic microprocessor patents. From that agreement, VIA has an ongoing license to Intel's x86 instruction set architecture.
The wife of VIA Technologies’ CEO is Ms. Cher Wang, Chairperson and Co-Founder of HTC. In 1997, at the age of 39, Wang launched HTC along with associates HT Cho and Peter Chou
. Wang is the daughter of Y.C. Wang, who co-founded the conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group
. Formosa Plastics Group and the Wang Family are one of most successful family enterprises in Asia. Cher Wang is known as a highly successful business woman ranked in 20th spot on Forbes list of the 2011 World’s Most Powerful Women.
Apple now finds themselves in lawsuits with both VIA Technology and HTC. Both Taiwan entities will draw on the expertise of nearly thirty companies in the Formosa Plastics Group.
After all the attorneys have their say in court, Apple will probably duplicate Intel’s squabble with VIA Technology and simply settle out of court for an undisclosed amount of money and cross-licensing of technology. Unless the Wang family decides to use VIA as a leverage for other ventures and lawsuits. After all, Wang family recently transferred ownership of S3 Graphics from VIA Technologies to HTC.
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