Just when you thought it was safe to keep your head down and ignore the patent infringement controversy that engulfs the tablet and smartphone milleu, it's time to blow the dust off of your copy of Black's : the industry vogue for legal action is moving into the heady world of water cooling.
Chiller constructor Asetek has been awarded several patents on a design for a “integrated liquid loop cooling” - those funky all in one water coolers – which dates back to 2003... and it's taking rival CoolIT to court over its similar designs.
According to a press release issued this morning, Asetek is working with an undisclosed third party to licence its newly patented technology to other manufacturers. Just about all of the existing all-in-one liquid coolers I know of are rebadged Asetek or CoolIT products, making its choice of litigative target unsurprising.
It's unlikely that the amounts involved in this case are going to be huge – all-in-one water coolers are a niche of a niche as far as sales are concerned – and what's interesting is that the patents seem pretty specific to desktop PCs, so it's unlikely they'd be applicable to the more lucrative server market.
While talk of patents these days is almost guaranteed to have heads smashing into desks in the Gamer office, it would be lazy to write off Asetek's claims as more trolling. CoolIT's Domino ALC was the first all-in-one to get noticed on UK shores, but that was in 2008 – a full three years after the first patent was filed.