| SAN JOSE, Calif. — Japan's Toshiba Corp. on Monday (Nov. 8) said that it has filed a pair of suits against South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc. in Japan and the United States over DRAM and flash-memory patents. |
Toshiba and Hynix entered into a patent cross-licensing agreement in August 1996 that included semiconductor products. The companies started negotiation of an extension of the agreement prior to its December 31, 2002 expiration. At the time, Toshiba sought to secure a reasonable fee for access to its patents.
Failure to reach a satisfactory conclusion left Toshiba with no alternative other than to pursue legal recourse.
So, in Japan, Toshiba filed a suit against Hynix for alleged infringement of its NAND flash memory patents. Toshiba's suit in Tokyo seeks damages against Hynix's alleged infringement of three NAND-related patents. It seeks an injunction against infringing products.
STMicroelectronics Inc. and Hynix already have an agreement to collaborate on the development of flash non-volatile memory chips. But Toshiba did not list STMicro in the suit, it was noted.
In the U.S., Toshiba filed a similar suit against Hynix and its U.S. subsidiaries for infringement of Toshiba's DRAM and NAND flash memory patents.
That suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, seeks damages for infringement of seven Toshiba patents, including three related to DRAM and four to NAND. Toshiba seeks an injunction against infringing products.
Toshiba regards protection of intellectual property as an essential means to secure its competitiveness, said Shozo Saito, vice president of the Memory Division at Toshiba Corporation Semiconductor Co. (Tokyo).
"Toshiba is a leader in advanced semiconductor memories and holds many significant patents," he said in a statement. "We are determined to protect our semiconductor intellectual property and prepared to take action against any infringement of our patents. The lawsuit against Hynix is in line with this strategy."