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Nvidia’s patent lawsuit against Samsung and Qualcomm took a a step forward as the U.S. International Trade Commission returned a favorable ruling for the graphics chip maker’s case.

Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender, who is presiding over the ITC case, “returned a pretrial claim construction ruling that favors Nvidia’s preferred construction on nearly all of the claims that were disputed,” Nvidia said.

“This pretrial decision, known as a Markman ruling, is the judge’s determination of the meaning and scope of the patent claims,” Nvidia executive vice president and chief administrative officer David Shannon said in a post. “Markman hearings are used in patent cases to define disputed terms of patents before a case goes to trial. This is an important step in determining whether Samsung and Qualcomm infringe Nvidia’s asserted patents.”

The judge has “determined what the claim language will mean for the hearing and his ultimate decision on the merits of the case,” Shannon said. “We’re very pleased with the outcome of the ruling, in which claim constructions favorable to Nvidia will be applied to six out of seven disputed claims when the judge considers the question of Samsung’s and Qualcomm’s infringement. This further strengthens the patents we have asserted, and we look forward to a full hearing in late June.”

Nvidia said it has more than 7,000 issued and pending patents. The patents in question focus on graphics processing unit (GPU) in the system-on-chip (SoC) devices made by Qualcomm and Samsung. Nvidia says the technologies are used in smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Note 4, and the Galaxy Edge.

“As I explained in September when we announced this action, this is the first time in Nvidia’s 22-year history that we have initiated a patent suit,” Shannon said. “Our 7,000 issued and pending patents include inventions vital to modern computing. We have chosen seven of those patents to assert in the ITC case.”


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