In the midst of all the high-profile Samsung vs. Apple cases throughout courtrooms worldwide, some have missed the smaller court cases popping up that could have just as much of an impact depending on the outcome. Bloomberg reports Taipei-based semiconductor manufacturer Via Technologies Inc. is suing Apple based on three patents related to microprocessors in tablets and smartphones.

The products at issue generally concern microprocessors included in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices.

The case was filed yesterday with the U.S. District Court in Delaware and seeks an order to prevent Apple from selling products that are covered by the three invention patents in the US. Via wrote in a statement that the patents at issue cover microprocessor functionality featured in Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod and Apple TV devices, mainly covered in the US Patent No. 6253312, Method and apparatus for double operand load and US Patent Nos. 6253311 & 6754810, Instruction set for bi-directional conversion and transfer of integer and floating point data.

Via Technologies produces motherboard chipsets, the world’s largest independent manufacturer, and subcontracts the silicon manufacturing process to other companies such as TSMC, the same company rumored to be working on Apple’s A6 processor. ASUS is one of the main PC vendors that buy Via Technologies components.

Although Apple will not take this case lightly, we all know the company has more pressing legal issues to worry about. Most recently, reports claim Samsung plans on seeking a ban on the yet to be released iPhone 5 upon launch.

This isn’t the first time Via has gone into litigation with some of the world’s largest tech companies. Interestingly, Via Technologies is said to have acquired three key processor related patents way back in 1999 after acquiring IDT and Centaur. This gave them bargaining power to negotiate a cross-license agreement with rival Intel. At the time, Intel used technologies covered by the three patents, forcing them in 2003 to grant Via a ten year agreement related to x86 compatible CPUs.

(via Bloomberg)

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