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Asetek sues Cooler Master over Seidon liquid coolers

Asetek sues Cooler Master over Seidon liquid coolers

Cooler Master's Seidon sealed-loop liquid cooling products are claimed to infringe Asetek's patents, but thus far neither company has offered a statement in support of defence of the case.

Remember the court case between sealed-loop cooling specialists Asetek and CoolIT, in which the former accused the latter of patent infringement? Well, Asetek has a new target: Cooler Master.

Asetek is one of the biggest names in sealed-loop liquid cooling, but also one of the most hidden: much of the company's revenue comes from licensing its technology to the like of NZXT, PNY and Corsair to build own-brand devices. That's a lucrative game, and one which is threatened when rivals start launching remarkably similar sealed-loop coolers of their own without paying tithe to Asetek.

This time, Cooler Master is the target of Asetek's legal wrath with the latter claiming the former's recently-launched Seidon family of sealed-loop coolers infringe two patents held by the company: US Patent 8245764 and US Patent 8240362, both of which are somewhat confusingly titled 'Cooling system for a computer system.'

The two patents are intrinsically related: the latter was filed back in 2010, while the former revised the design of the system to better reflect the state of the art when it was filed in 2011. Both include reference to the use of a liquid-cooling system connected to a pump and radiator, designed to be fully integrated into a single maintenance-free design - and if you think that sounds a little broad, you might be right given that the patents encompass 'different embodiments of the heat exchanging system as well as means for establishing and controlling a flow of cooling liquid.'

The patents are the same as those used in Asetek's case against CoolIT, and show fears that Asetek wouldn't be limiting its cases to just that company were entirely accurate.

Although the two patents filed date back only to 2010, they are both continuations of an earlier patent filed by company founder André Sloth Eriksen back in 2005 - meaning any devices launched after this date are a potential target, assuming Asetek isn't being paid its licensing fee. 'Our successful innovations have attracted several imitators,' Eriksen claimed in his statement regarding the CoolIT filing last year. 'Although competition is a keen motivator for continuous innovation and operational excellence, innovation is expensive and as such we take out patents to protect our investments.'

Interestingly, this latest legal tussle has come without the same posturing press release as last years effort: both companies have, in fact, been entirely silent, and it was only the investigative efforts of eTeknix which spotted the filing, made on the 31st of January, and made details of the case public.

Neither Asetek nor Cooler Master have been willing to comment on the filing - a sensible choice, given the risk of jeopardising their respective cases with some poorly-phrased PR material.

9 Comments

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Corky42 11th March 2013, 13:00 Quote
Anyone know, did Asetek win the case they had against CoolIT ?
jrs77 11th March 2013, 14:09 Quote
As allways. General ideas should not be patentable, and a closed loop is very much a general idea.

If Asetek wants to patend it's pump, or it's radiator-design then this is all good, but the general idea of having a pump attached to a cooling-block and two hoses to connect this unit to a radiator is not worth to be patended imho.

If the judges have any braincells left, they should discard this case instantly.
tad2008 11th March 2013, 18:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
As allways. General ideas should not be patentable, and a closed loop is very much a general idea.

If Asetek wants to patend it's pump, or it's radiator-design then this is all good, but the general idea of having a pump attached to a cooling-block and two hoses to connect this unit to a radiator is not worth to be patended imho.

If the judges have any braincells left, they should discard this case instantly.

Surely trying to patent a pump or radiator design by itself would have been even more intrinsicly flawed since that could be construed as being taken from design from the automotive industry to name one.

For someone to have taken something akin to a cars radiator cooling system and innovatively come up with a new way of cooling the inside of a computer seems solid enough to me and a good enough idea worthwhile protecting.

The main question for me though is down to the legitamacy of the patents themselves, are they too broad all and emcompassing? Has Coolermaster intentionally copied the Asetek design or is it just very similar?
AlphaAngel 11th March 2013, 23:35 Quote
Just another example of the flawed patent system.

However, seeing as it is so lucrative for companies and lawyers I can see it being changed. Politicians won't change anything as they are so cheaply bought, particularly in the US where the big changes would have to be.

Unfortunately, it is the whole world which loses out as the patent system,as it stands,hinders innovation incredibly.
Gareth Halfacree 12th March 2013, 08:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Anyone know, did Asetek win the case they had against CoolIT ?
I was actually trying to figure that out as I was writing the article, and failed miserably. Trying to get actual, useful information out of the US court system appears to be next to impossible. As far as I could gather, the case is still ongoing, but I couldn't find anything definitive.
Corky42 12th March 2013, 08:18 Quote
Yea all there legal speak is like another language, but i think your right in saying its still on going.
The best info i found, that you have probably already seen was.
http://dockets.justia.com/docket/california/candce/3:2012cv04498/258428/
Jimbob 12th March 2013, 16:11 Quote
I think most of us that have dabled in water cooling over the years had though of sealed systems well before 2005. If only we had put out a patent we'd be laughing!

I genuinly worry about inovation with the current patents being filed by the big tech companies. It seems that pretty much everyone involved with computers/electronics/AV systems is having to pay a licence fee to some obscure crap to someone or other. This is fine if you have enough of a portfolio to offset them against but will undoubtedly kill off competition from smaller startups.

The number of patents filed by the big tech companies is now higher in 1 year than the whole of the 90s. Sad really.
Spreadie 12th March 2013, 19:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
If only we had put out a patent, and had enough money to fight a legal case in the US, we'd be laughing!
IFTFY ;)
siliconfanatic 12th March 2013, 19:50 Quote
^this guy. This guy, RIGHT here^ The US gov't is all about money. There is no such thing as a law. Only guidlines that slaughter the small guy which can be blown right on through or manipulated with cash as easily as lindsay lohan with a bag of crack.
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