Apple has another patent-related lawsuit on its hands, reports Bloomberg. VIA Technologies Inc., a Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer, filed suit against Apple on Wednesday with the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del. VIA’s complaint has to do with three U.S. patents allegedly infringed upon by Apple’s microprocessors, which include the in-house designed A4 and A5 that power the iPhone 4, iPod touch and iPad.
VIA manufactures a low-power x86 processor (Apple’s processors are a licensed, ARM-based design), and says the patents in questions “generally concern microprocessors included in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices.” That seems to cast a fairly wide net, but since the core tech behind products made by VIA and Apple are based on completely different architecture, it could be that its issues are mainly to do with the modifications Apple has made to the basic ARM design in order to makes its A-series processors more power efficient.
VIA Technologies has a strong patent portfolio, part of which it recently offloaded to smartphone manufacturer HTC through the sale of S3 Graphics. S3 won a mixed, but generally favorable decision at the ITC against Apple in July. A final decision resulting from that initial ruling is scheduled for November, and could theoretically result in a ban on sales of some Apple products in the U.S.
An A-series chip is likely to power Apple’s iPhone 5, which according to most reports will arrive sometime next month.