Aureal Semiconductor Inc. was an American electronics manufacturer, best known throughout the mid-late 1990s for their PC sound card technologies including A3D and the Vortex (a line of audio ASICs.) The company was the reincarnation of the, at the time, bankrupt Media Vision Technology, who developed and manufactured multimedia peripherals such as the Pro Audio Spectrum 16.
On March 5, 1998 Creative Labs sued Aureal for patent infringement. Aureal countersued because they believed Creative was guilty of patent infringement. After numerous lawsuits Aureal won a favorable ruling in December 1999, which vindicated Aureal from these patent infringement claims, but the legal costs were too high and Aureal filed for bankruptcy. On September 21, 2000, Creative acquired Aureal's assets from its bankruptcy trustee for US$32 million. The purchase included patents, trademarks, other property, as well as a release to Creative from any infringement by Creative of Aureal's intellectual property including A3D. The purchase effectively eliminated Creative's only competition in the gaming audio market. It also eliminated any requirements for Creative to pay past or future royalties as well as damages for products which incorporated Aureal's technology.
Creative Labs sued Aureal for patent infringement in March 1998 , and Aureal countersued for patent infringement and deceptive trade practices. Aureal won the lawsuit brought by Creative in December 1999. However, the cost of the legal battle caused Aureal's investors to cease funding operations, forcing Aureal into bankruptcy. Creative then acquired Aureal's assets in September 2000 through the bankruptcy court with the specific provision that Creative Labs would be released from all claims of past infringement by Creative Labs upon Aureal's A3D technology. Creative Labs has not chosen to support the A3D API.