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nVidia may face legal action over G92b rebranding

Rebreanded G92b as GTX260M and GTX280M
By: Sean Kalinich | Business, Financial & Legal News | Posted: Feb 27, 2009 4:20 pm

It looks like nVidia's latest round of rebranding might come back to hurt them. In a move that many are saying is very misleading nV is rebranding the G92b (same chip that is going into the GTS240/250) as the GTX260 and GTX280 mobile.


Now it is nothing new for companies to rebrand, ATi, nVidia, Via just about everyone does it to some degree. Where the problem starts is that nVidia is labeling the G92b with the same naming convention as a much more advanced part. (GT200). This means that people searching for reviews or information on the GTX280M will also get reviews of the desktop part which is miles above the 55nm chip that will be used in the mobile part.


As of this writing there are rumblings of class actions suits and even legal action from states over this.


Read more here at Theo Valich's Blog.


nVidia may face legal action over G92b rebranding

If Nvidia labeled their mobile parts as GTS240/250, nobody would notice - because it would be a case of rebranding (in all honesty, ATI isn't a saint there either, branding some Mobility Radeon 2000 parts as 3000 series and then rebranding some 3000 chips into 4000). But in this case, the company is deliberately naming GTS240/260 as already shipping desktop parts - GTX260 and 280, both based on GT200 chip.


The list of differences doesn't stop there - we have a GTX280 consisting out of 128 shader processors (GTX280M), or 240 (the original GTX280), different memory controllers (256-bit vs. 512-bit) and the list goes on.
The potential legal part lies in the fact that if consumer types something like "GeForce GTX 280 notebook" in "accepted way of finding information relevant to consumer" such as search engines - consumer will find information and glowing reviews about desktop parts and potentially form a wrong opinion/expectation about the product itself. This is a slippery slope that none of IT companies slipped on, but as computers became a commodity, you can expect more and more watchdogs looking into the land of (rebranded) silicon.


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