Asetek, a leading supplier of liquid cooling for the computer industry, announced today that it has been granted three new patents for its integrated loop liquid cooling technology. These patents may significantly affect the market for sealed liquid cooling products.
Around a decade ago, liquid cooling setups were put together by hand, with enthusiasts buying all the bits separately, such as the pump, radiator and tubing, which would then have to be painstakingly and skilfully assembled. The parts were expensive and hard to use, which of course sometimes lead to accidents and leaks. Then everything changed when Asetek and one or two other companies introduced sealed liquid cooling kits. These were much cheaper and easier to use, with the system builder simply having to mount the system in their rigs and off they went. This in turn opened up the market for liquid cooling, with many imitators following in their footsteps.
However, with Asetek winning three patents relating to these sealed cooling units, they are now looking to monetize them by either securing licensing fees from competitors, which they have already done, or just suing them if they think this is a better strategy:
"Asetek is the world’s largest manufacturer of all-in-one, sealed loop liquid coolers and is committed to remaining so through a combination of competitiveness and continuing investments in R&D of liquid cooling and manufacturing technology. Going forward, the company will evaluate each imitator on a case-by-case basis within the context of the greater liquid cooling market, and may grant licenses or pursue other courses of action to protect and monetize its intellectual property." For "other courses of action", read: they'll sue you if they don't get what they want.
One way or another the market for these kinds of products is going to change significantly and if experience is anything to go by, it's going to lead to higher prices and poorer choices for you and me.
"Asetek is an innovation company by DNA, said André Sloth Eriksen, Founder and CEO of Asetek. "These patents, some of which have priority back to 2003, spring out of our rich PC enthusiast heritage and our dedication to solving painful problems for our customers."
Asetek further announced that it has entered into a licensing agreement with a leading global marketer of integrated liquid cooling products that will enable the licensee to market both Asetek manufactured product and product utilizing Asetek Intellectual Property manufactured by certain other suppliers.