Spansion sues Samsung for patent infringement
In one of the largest patent infringement claims ever filed, Spansion is seeking the exclusion from the U.S. market of well over 100 million MP3 players, cellphones, digital cameras and other consumer electronic devices containing Samsung's infringing flash memory components. The complaint in also seeks an injunction and treble damages for patent violations relating to Samsung flash memory, that Spansion estimates has accounted for more than $30 billion in the South Korean firm's global revenues since 2003.
"Samsung's infringement of our intellectual property not only harms Spansion, but it threatens the foundation of technology innovation," said Boaz Eitan, executive VP, Spansion, CEO of Saifun.
The Spansion patents named in these law suits are fundamental to floating gate technology, which is the foundation for approximately 90 percent of the flash memory market. Spansion' MirrorBit, a charge-trapping technology also represents a growing share of the flash memory market and is expected to replace floating gate technology in the future. Flash memory companies including Samsung have publicly announced their plans to transition to charge-trapping type technologies for their future generation products.
"Spansion has patents that are fundamental to flash memory. Samsung itself has cited these patents many times in its own patent filings, underscoring industry acceptance of the fundamental nature of Spansion's IP," said Robert Melendres, executive VP and general counsel for Spansion. "Spansion will vigorously protect its intellectual property and is entitled to be compensated by Samsung for its use of our IP."
The acquisition of Saifun Semiconductor earlier this year expanded Spansion's IP portfolio and was a key milestone in Spansion's strategy to create a major licensing business, and generate new streams of significant revenue with very high margins.
Although Samsung is the target of the litigations, Spansion is required to name the manufacturers of downstream products containing Samsung's infringing devices in its ITC complaint. Companies named in the ITC case include: Samsung, Apple, Asus, Kingston, Lenovo, PNY, RIM, Sony, Sony-Ericsson, Transcend, some of their subsidiaries and third party manufacturing companies.
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