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  • TI Thinks Resolved

DRV8601: HELP: We are developing a gaming product, controller/handheld, and are aware of Immersion Corporation's deep patent portfolio and have questions?

Prodigy 100 points

Replies: 10

Views: 525

Part Number: DRV8601

It seems that that patent trolls are alive and strong and the company https://www.immersion.com/ has over 3000 patents in the use of haptics that seem to cover every possible scenario. No one can go thru 3000 patents, but the first couple seem to be so broad that anyone that puts a vibrator motor in ANYTHING (especially game controllers, phones, wearables, etc.) are covered by their patents.

They have NEVER made a product and simply sue large companies AFTER they have installed vibrators in their product (sony, microsoft, lg, samsung and others), all of which have lost in court and had to pay royalties.

My question to TI is simple, if we use one of your driver ICs to control a vibrator motor in our product, do YOU have any deal in place with Immersion that stipulates that the license fee is baked into the motor driver IC? OR we can go thru a program via TI to get a discounted license fee per unit?

Basically, many technologies like USB, MP3, etc. have licensing fees, and many ICs have these baked into the cost, so if you use the IC, the manufacture has already paid this fee for a large volume and thus got a discount, and everyone is happy.

We are investigating this, do not want to be sued, but again, don't want to pay for something we don't need to, and of course don't want to waste a lot of money to have attorneys pour thru 1000's of pages of patents to see if our application is covered or not by Immersion IF this is MOOT due to TI having some kind of deal in place.

Does anyone from TI have any intel about this or can put me in touch with someone that can speak to this?

Thanks,

Andre' LaMothe
ceo@nurve.net


  • Hi Andre,

    The fees for effect usage are only covered in TI haptic driver devices that have integrated effect libraries, such as DRV2605/DRV2605L/DRV2625.
    No other TI device has paid royalties so it is up to the end customer to make the choice to pay any royalty in mass production.
    The previously mentioned devices have additional information about this in the Legal Notice section from it data sheet.

    Best regards,
    -Ivan Salazar
    Applications Engineer - Low Power Audio & Actuators
  • In reply to Ivan Salazar:

    Ivan,

    So to be clear, IF I use on of these ICs in my design AND TIs C/C++ libs for control THEN I can use WITHOUT any further license or royalties to Immersion. Basically, if we use the 2605, 2625, we are free and clear based on TI's deal with Immersion?

    Is this correct, or am I reading you wrong?

    Andre' LaMothe

    CEO Nurve Networks LLC

  • In reply to Andre Lamothe:

    Andre,

    Actually there is no mention of C libs; the libs I mentioned are the effects included in some haptic driver devices like to ones listed in my previous post.
    Only those devices have the legal notice and paid royalties, so the answer for the end of your first question would be yes.

    Best regards,
    -Ivan Salazar
    Applications Engineer - Low Power Audio & Actuators
  • In reply to Ivan Salazar:

    Hmmm -- well, device drivers running on what hardware? PC/MAC/Android? I am building a device that has a microcontroller, so I will be the one driving the DRVxxx IC with direct control. Thus, I won't be able to use a pre-canned "driver" on a high level system. So, it sounds like IF you use pre-made DRIVERs that are running on PC/MAC/etc. developed by TI AND the DRVxxxx ICs then you are covered. But, if I want to use these ICs and MUST write my own driver (i.e. A MSP432 is controlling the DRVxxxx, or a PIC, ARM, AVR, etc.) then I will not be covered?

    Andre'

  • In reply to Andre Lamothe:

    Hi Andre,

    I think we're having a misunderstanding here. By "haptic driver" I mean the IC, not the software controller.
    The mentioned devices (DRV2605/DRV2605L/DRV2625) have included haptic effect libraries, and also only these devices have the Legal Notice and paid royalties for its haptic effects usage.

    Best regards,
    -Ivan Salazar
    Applications Engineer - Low Power Audio & Actuators
  • In reply to Ivan Salazar:

    Ivan,

    Can you give me a person to speak to live on this matter. I have showed this to legal, and before they start wasting time, I want to explore this over the phone and ask some questions. Can you put me in contact with someone for the Austin, TX region that can speak to this matter from a legal point of view. The "legal" notice is a single paragraph (I know the actual deal is 50-100 pages!!!!), and we will need to know EXACTLY what it covers and the details of the deal with TI and Immersion (in as much as TI can disclose), but the simple question stands.

    1. We use the DRV2605, then WHAT EXACTLY has been licensed and royalties paid?

    2. Do we need to pay Immersion for anything else NOT covered by TI?

    We are developing a new console product with an MOQ of 1,000,000 units the first run, so we need to explore this issue with someone from legal, or at least can explain this in detail, so I can then relay this to our legal and they can decide the course of action.

    So, please, shoot me someone in management and licensing/legal that knows in detail this product line. 

    Thanks,

    Andre' LaMothe
    CEO / Chief Scientist Nurve Networks LLC
    ceo@nurve.net
    512.266.2399

  • In reply to Andre Lamothe:

    Hi Andre,

    Let me investigate who would be the people indicated to discuss this and I'll reach out to you over your email address.

    Best regards,
    -Ivan Salazar
    Applications Engineer - Low Power Audio & Actuators
  • In reply to Ivan Salazar:

    Ivan,

    I haven't heard anything -- did you find a contact in legal that can answer some questions about the actual licensing deal, so we can decide to use this part or not. Thanks.

    Andre' LaMothe

    CEO / Chief Scientist Nurve Networks LLC

    ceo@nurve.net |

    Biz: 512.266.2399

  • In reply to Ivan Salazar:

    Ivan,

    Any update on finding this contact? 

    Andre' LaMothe

    CEO / Chief Scientist Nurve Networks LLC

    ceo@nurve.net |

    Biz: 512.266.2399

  • In reply to Andre Lamothe:

    Andre,

    Let me give you a call to go over this tomorrow.
    I'll use the contact details you provided through e-mail.

    Best regards,
    -Ivan Salazar
    Applications Engineer - Low Power Audio & Actuators

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