S3 Graphics late last week filed a complaint (PDF) against Apple with the International Trade Commission for allegedly violating four patents relating to encoding and decoding images. It accuses Apple of copying the technology with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Certain MacBooks and Apple software, such as SDKs, also supposedly imitate S3's work.
The complaint, like most ITC requests, calls for a ban on imports of all the Apple products.
S3 is best known from the early days of 3D graphics for its ViRGE hardware, which provided basic hardware acceleration at a time when the feature was new. The company gradually sank in relevance for North American audiences but continues to make dedicated graphics cards like its Chrome 500 series. At least some of the relevant patents are believed in use by the Chrome boards.