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Computer Memory Processing Patent Appeal Surprisingly Technical

By George Khoury, Esq. on August 25, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

When it comes to patent appeals between computer component manufacturers, courts can often wow those who are tech savvy with the court's own tech know-how. The recently decided case of Visual Memory v. Nvidia for patent infringement due to a three-tiered memory hierarchy patent held by Visual Memory is a perfect example of just how technical a court can get, especially on appeal.

The primary issue in this patent battle appeal involved whether the Visual Memory patent for an improved computer memory system was valid or too abstract to be enforceable.

Details on Appeal

The district court essentially ruled in Nvidia's favor stating that Visual Memory's patent was too generic and only covered an abstract idea that was not patent eligible. But, the appellate court was able to see the novelty and innovation that the district court seemed to miss, and reversed the lower court's dismissal.

The appeals court was able to understand that the patent wasn't about the generic processing and moving of data on a computer's memory system, but rather, it was an improved way to design memory systems that could differentiate between different types of processors, and then perform different actions in handling the memory and data based on the type of processor detected.

Sadly for Nvidia, the court seemed to rub salt into their floppy disk drive. The reversal and remand also awarded costs, meaning that Nvidia not only has to continue fighting off the patent prosecution, but they have to pay the costs on the appeal they lost. The silver lining for Nvidia is that the case is far from over. In fact, the appellate court specifically stated that their ruling does not reach the merits of the cases other issues, and explained that the patent could potentially be found ineligible, or unenforceable, on other grounds.

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