The CPU Cooler Wars saga continues, as Cooler Master sues a bunch of other manufacturers over all-in-one patent infringements

(Image credit: Enermax)

If you're one of the many PC gamers out there that uses an AIO or closed-loop cooler to chill the CPU, you've almost certainly got a product that licences one of Asetek's designs. That company pretty much rules the roost when it comes to AIOs, so when somebody else comes up with a different design, you can bet that they're going to be very protective of it. This is why Cooler Master's lawsuit against three other cooler manufacturers isn't in the least bit surprising.

The details of the lawsuit, reported by TechPowerUp, show the companies in question are SilverStone, Enermax, and an OEM company called Apaltek, based in China. It's the latter that's mostly being targeted here, as it supplies the coolers for SilverStone and Enermax (plus a fair few other vendors).

Cooler Master is claiming Apaltek's designs violate three of its patents that cover overall design, water pumps embedded in the radiator, and an ARGB lighting controller. Some or all of these aspects feature in a significant number of SilverStone and Enermax AIO coolers but Apaltek also does the same for the likes of MSI. As to why CM is only targeting two specific vendors, and not all of them, isn't clear but it's probably because they're far smaller companies than MSI, et al.

Naturally, Apaltek isn't happy about this and contacted TechPowerUp with a comment recalling that Cooler Master itself was at the receiving end of an Asetek lawsuit six years ago, though that was a case which ultimately went in CM's favour. Apaltek went as far as to label CM's behaviour as being that of a 'bully' but if its patents have genuinely been violated, you would hardly expect them to sit around and do nothing about it.

Especially since Asetek's designs dominate the AIO cooler market. If your cooler has a pump that's part of the CPU's heatsink block, it's an Asetek one. So trying to come up with a cooler design that won't incur the wrath of its lawyers is quite a challenge, hence why Cooler Master is being pretty vigorous in its claims.

If the lawsuit is successful, then the three defendants will be required to pay damages and legal costs, though it's not clear at this stage just how much relief Cooler Master's lawyers will plead for. I can't imagine that it will be a small amount, but even if CM wins it case, it's unlikely to receive the full amount demanded.

Whatever happens, this certainly won't be the last episode in the seemingly never ending Cooler Wars saga.


Best AIO cooler for CPUs: Keep your chip chill.
Best air cooler for CPUs: Classic, quiet cooling.

Nick Evanson
Hardware Writer

Nick, gaming, and computers all first met in 1981, with the love affair starting on a Sinclair ZX81 in kit form and a book on ZX Basic. He ended up becoming a physics and IT teacher, but by the late 1990s decided it was time to cut his teeth writing for a long defunct UK tech site. He went on to do the same at Madonion, helping to write the help files for 3DMark and PCMark. After a short stint working at, Nick joined Futuremark (MadOnion rebranded) full-time, as editor-in-chief for its gaming and hardware section, YouGamers. After the site shutdown, he became an engineering and computing lecturer for many years, but missed the writing bug. Cue four years at and over 100 long articles on anything and everything. He freely admits to being far too obsessed with GPUs and open world grindy RPGs, but who isn't these days?