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July 4, 2011

Apple found guilty for infringing S3 Graphics patents

The verdict can be modified by a majority vote of the ITC Commissioners

By CBR Staff Writer

Apple has infringed two patents of S3 Graphics which describes technology for image data compression, according to a ruling by a US International Trade Commission (ITC) judge.

In May 2010, S3 Graphics filed its ITC complaint, following which an eight-day trial was held in March 2011.

Judge E. James Gildea found that Apple infringes U.S. Patent No. 6,658,146 directed to systems and methods for compressing images and U.S. Patent No. 6,683,978 directed to image data formats, both of which belong to S3 Graphics.

Judge Gildea’s decision will become the ITC’s final decision on 1 November 2011, unless modified by a majority vote of the ITC Commissioners.

In the industry, the technology is known as S3 Texture Compression (S3TC), which S3 Graphics claims is invaluable for advanced 3-D video graphics, and is is widely licensed and implemented.

S3 Graphics CEO Ken Weng said S3 Texture Compression has been implemented in over 1 billion computers, game consoles and mobile devices worldwide.

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Since 1998, Microsoft has licensed and implemented the S3 Graphics technology in DirectX products and now Windows 7, while Sony, Nintendo and others have also licensed and used the technology in their video game consoles and other products.

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