SGI Back From The Dead (Again) And Suing Tons Of Companies For Patent Infringement

from the troll-troll-troll-troll dept

Back when I moved to Silicon Valley, Silicon Graphics Inc., (SGI) was still a hot place to work. They were still pumping out cool machines and had a reputation for a fun corporate culture. Of course, that collapsed pretty quickly over the next few years, as SGI totally misjudged the market trends and fell victim to the innovator's dilemma. Basically, SGI never could come to terms with the fact that its premium products were going to be increasingly undercut as cheaper commodity technology improved. Back in 2006, we noted that what remained of SGI had indicated that it planned to resurrect the company by going patent troll. However, we thought we'd avoided that ignoble result when SGI sold most of its assets to Rackable for a mere $25 million three years ago. Silly us for assuming those patents would just go away.

While Rackable changed its name to Silicon Graphics International... the original company actually retained the patents, and renamed itself Graphics Properties Holdings... and over the last few years has been suing lots of companies for patent infringement. In the last year alone it has sued Apple, HTC, LG, RIM, Samsung, Sony, Acer, ASUS, Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio and Motorola Mobility.

As the link above notes, while some of GPH's patents are relatively early, it appears that lots of similar inventions predated key patents. However, the early date may make those patents look stronger, and give GPH much more leverage in getting companies to pay up -- or risk losing the ability to produce devices with nice graphics capabilities.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Pixelation, May 8th, 2012 @ 11:21pm

    Dear Representatives,

    Our current IP legislation is a JOKE. Why, you ask? Let's start with patent lawsuits. We don't need that sort of broken thinking. We can compete with anyone without your screwed up intervention. Please clean up your mess and get out of the way.

    Thank you,

    A Hard Working American

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2012 @ 11:24pm

    Does anybody else remember when American companies actually made something besides lawsuits and advertising right here in America?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Hoby (profile), May 9th, 2012 @ 12:19am

    What a sad end to such a once-brilliant company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Those who can innovate.
    Those who can't litigate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    abc gum, May 9th, 2012 @ 4:47am

    Looks to be just another get rich quick scheme whose days are numbered. Reminds me of a nature show where the vultures are so busy fighting over the carcass they do not realize it is being consumed by other scavengers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Gregg Butler, May 9th, 2012 @ 5:46am

    IP's, Patents and Trolls....

    I say that if a company makes a patent, then they have 5 years to use it or loose it. The rest of the world can't wait forever for them to use it. Especially with in the IT world. It's not like anyone else hasn't thought of it yet. Why should the whole world suffer and wait for a product sitting on the shelf protected by the law, when people can use them. And frankly, these law suites are clogging up the court rooms. Believe it or not, it hits our tax dollars in the end!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    gorehound (profile), May 9th, 2012 @ 5:53am


    Washington really is a Cancerous Growth and it is Malignant

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2012 @ 6:20am

    Re: Re:

    Right On! So is Los Angeles, New York and what an armpit Chicago is. Yea American Cities Sux

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Keii (profile), May 9th, 2012 @ 7:17am


    Wait... wait... I think you might have inspired me to make something...
    Yes! I've got it! Advertising rights to lawsuits! Brilliant!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Baldaur Regis (profile), May 9th, 2012 @ 8:07am


    Some bean-counter at one of these NPEs will eventually figure out that lawyers are cheaper in (say) Burma. And another proud American industry will be outsourced.

    On the bright side, surplus US lawyers make excellent artificial reefs when dumped offshore in sufficient quantities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2012 @ 8:40am


    Pepperidge Farm remembers

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Rapnel (profile), May 9th, 2012 @ 12:08pm


    Bullets! .. ? Lots and lots of bullets .. ? And we're all buying them - only we don't get to shoot them.. apparently. Wait.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Overcast (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 3:27pm

    More like a zombie than back from the dead - lumbering, brainless, with no ideas - they only seek to leech off of the living.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Austin, May 14th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    Except the Kitchen Sink

    The really telling thing here is that a company that was founded on the production of Graphics Cards sued a bunch of system makers - but chose to omit both NVidia and ATI. Many will claim that SGI had/has a lot of innovation. What does it say that they cannot make a case worth filing against either of the 2 primary companies in their primary field? Seems like a pretty blatant lack of innovation to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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