AseTek’s patent victory won’t affect many cooler companies

It will be business as usual for many companies in the cooling business, despite AseTek’s victory in the courts.

AsetekWC 1 AseTek’s patent victory won’t affect many cooler companies

Earlier this week Astek announced that it had been granted the rights to a patent for its “thermal interposer liquid cooling system” designed for cooling GPUs. This came out of a patent dispute with CoolIT, which was one of many patent fights Asetek started with companies in the cooling business.

“As seen in the recently announced AMD Radeon R9 295X2, the graphics cooling market is one that we see as having tremendous growth potential for our desktop business,” said André Sloth Eriksen, Founder and CEO of Asetek, in a statement. “We continue to see increasing interest from GPU and graphics card manufacturers due to increased power use and demands for lower acoustics. Given this interest, it is possible that the GPU cooling business could rival our CPU cooling business in the coming years.”

Asetek is an established player in the cooling business, but as the popularity of liquid cooling has risen over the past few years due to the demands of high-end cards, so have Asetek’s legal spars with its competitors. CoolIT is the most notable example of being the target of Asetek’s patent suits for alleged infringement, as it Cooler Master   last year, for alleged similarities between the Seidon All-in-One liquid coolers and Astek’s kit.

AsetekWC 5 AseTek’s patent victory won’t affect many cooler companies

There is a case to be made that Asetek’s patent win will have a chilling effect over the cooling industry as a whole. Many industry players might simply exit the market to avert a potential legal war with Asetek. Alternatively, some companies may not bother to innovate for fear that new products might run afoul of Asetek’s intentionally ambiguous patent wording.

But for some of the largest names in the cooling business, it will be business as usual. Asetek hasn’t won a sort of Carthaginian peace that some claim it is. In fact,  some companies say they won’t be affected at all.

When contacted by VR-Zone, a representative of Cooler Master said that Asetek’s patent win won’t affect the company’s coolers while Corsair’s Rick Allen said the company had “no comment” but an existing strong relation with Asetek (Corsair uses Asetek as an ODM for some products).

Asetek finds itself in an interesting situation: it has the makings of a patent troll going after competitors like CoolIT, but it might want to moderate it lawfare lest that spook the number of OEM/ODM partners it has.

Regardless, it will be business as usual for many in the cooler market for the time being.

Sam Reynolds is a Canadian technology journalist based in Taipei. His interest is the intersection between politics, business and technology.