Silicon Graphics Sues Apple, RIM, Sony

Former Silicon Valley pioneer Silicon Graphics has sued a number of IT giants over alleged infringement of its display technology

Apple, Sony, HTC and other mobile device makers reportedly are being sued for patent infringement by what remains of former Silicon Valley pioneer Silicon Graphics.

A longtime maker of massive servers for such environments as high-performance computing, Silicon Graphics was unable to adapt to the changing technology landscape and went bankrupt.

Intellectual property infringement

The bulk of the business was sold in 2009 to Rackable Systems for $25 million (£16m) – a small amount for a company that at one time sold individual systems for millions of dollars – and Rackable soon after changed its name to Silicon Graphics International Corp., or more commonly SGI.

What was left after the sale became Graphics Properties Holding, a company based in New York and run by investors, including private equity firms. It continues to license some of its intellectual property assets, and now is contending that Apple, Sony, HTC, Research In Motion, LG Electronics and Samsung are violating one of its patents.

According to a report by Reuters, the patent being disputed regards a computer graphics technology process that turns text and images into pixels that are displayed on the screens of devices.

The smartphones at issue include Apple’s iPhone, HTC’s Evo4G, LG’s Thrill, RIM’s BlackBerry Torch, Samsung’s Galaxy S and Galaxy S II, and Sony’s Xperia Play.

In its filing, Graphics Properties is seeking royalties and other damages, and is asking the court to halt the sale of the products it says violates the patent. Graphics Properties officials said the company will be harmed if the alleged patent infringement continues.

The patent at issue is registered as patent number 8,144,158.

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