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Apple, Samsung sued by ZiiLABS over alleged infringement of graphics patents

In a lawsuit filed against Apple and Samsung on Monday, ZiiLABS, a subsidiary of A/V solutions giant Creative Technology, claims the companies infringed on ten U.S. patents, many of which deal with graphics processing.

The suit was lodged in the patent holder-friendly Eastern District of Texas and asserts ten patents-in-suit against a number of Apple and Samsung devices. More specifically, the litigation targets system-on-chip designs manufactured by Samsung and used in both companies' devices.

Not only is ZiiLABS going after mobile devices, but Macs as well. Claimed infringing computers include MacBooks, iMacs and Mac Pros, as well as what appears to be nearly every Samsung device made in the past couple years.

As the company, formerly known as 3DLabs, Inc, deals mainly with graphics processing hardware and software, most of the patents asserted are within this realm of expertise. Currently, ZiiLABS is marketing the "StemCell" ARM-based applications processor lineup, a version of which has recently seen use in 3M's mobile projector. The chips are also used in parent company Creative's various products.

ZiiLABS is asserting the following patents:

  • Patent No. 5,831,637 for "Video stream data mixing for 3D graphics systems"
  • Patent No. 5,835,096 for a "Rendering system using 3D texture-processing hardware for accelerated 2D rendering"
  • Patent 6,111,584 for a "Rendering system with mini-patch retrieval from local texture storage"
  • Patent No. 6,650,333 for "Multi-pool texture memory management"
  • Patent No. 6,683,615 for "Doubly-virtualized texture memory"
  • Patent No. 6,977,649 for "3D graphics rendering with selective read suspend"
  • Patent No. 7,050,061 for "Autonomous address translation in graphic subsystem"
  • Patent No. 7,187,383 for "Yield enhancement of complex chips"
  • Patent No. 7,710,425 for "Graphic memory management with invisible hardware-managed page faulting"
  • Patent No. 8,144,156 for "Sequencer with async SIMD array"

The validity of ZiiLabs' accusations are unclear, however, as Apple has custom-designed its A-series chips since the iPhone 5's A6 SoC. Prior to that, the company used highly modified versions of existing architectures, though all have been manufactured at Samsung's foundries in Austin, Texas.

ZiiLABS is seeking past and future damages, as well as injunctions against Apple and Samsung. A hearing date has yet to be announced.