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Toshiba wins NAND flash suit against Hynix

Posted: 28 Mar 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Peter Clarke  Hynix Semiconductor  Toshiba  NAND flash memory 

Hynix Semiconductor Inc. was ordered by a Japanese court on March 24 to stop selling NAND flash memory components in Japan in relation to a lawsuit brought by Toshiba Corp., according to a Reuters report that quoted Toshiba as its source.

The company said it would appeal and that the ruling would only affect some of its NAND flash memory products. Hynix was also ordered to pay Toshiba about Rs.2,92,0500 ($66,000) in damages, the report said.

Toshiba filed the suit against Hynix in the Tokyo District Court in November 2004 for what it said was the infringement of patents on NAND-type flash memory chips.

Toshiba and Hynix entered into a patent cross-licencing agreement in August 1996 that included semiconductor products. The companies started negotiating an extension of the agreement prior to its December 31, 2002 expiration, but failed to agree what would be reasonable fees for access to Toshiba patents.

Hynix collaborated with STMicroelectronics (ST) on the development and production of flash memory chips but Toshiba did not list ST in its lawsuit filed in 2004. At the same time Toshiba filed a similar suit in the United States against Hynix and its U.S. subsidiaries for infringement of Toshiba's DRAM and NAND flash memory patents.

Hynix received another setback earlier in 2006 when the Japan imposed a 27.2 per cent duty on DRAM imports from the South Korean chip maker. The decision was arrived at after DRAM makers Elpida Memory Inc and Micron Japan Ltd., argued that Hynix had received what amounted to state subsidy in the form of banks agreeing to convert massive debts into equity positions.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times

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