A U.S. International Trade Commission judge has ruled in favor of Samsung, saying that some of the company's patents had been infringed upon by NVIDIA. The case concerns three Samsung patents revolving around how graphics processors are made, which Samsung claims NVIDIA violated when making its own processors.
The back-and-forth between the two companies illustrates how improved graphics processing units, or GPUs, are becoming more important as smartphones and tablet computers are increasingly used for playing games and watching movies. The Korean electronics company said the patents in the ITC case cover some of the basic circuit designs so they are smaller, faster and work better. That saves costs for the manufacturers, and enables better video performance.
Disputes between Samsung and Nvidia have been ongoing for more than a year, beginning with an NVIDIA claim against Samsung after licensing discussions between the two companies broke down. The ITC had previously ruled that Nvidia's rights had not been violated, though the company plans to appeal that decision.
This week's decision by the ITC judge are subject to review by the full commission, which can block products from sale in the U.S. if they deem it appropriate.