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.