Fri, Jan 08, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Enova sues US, Taiwanese firms

VIOLATION Hsinchu-based Enova, an encryption solutions developer, alleged that Western Digital of the US and Initio Corp in Taiwan had infringed on two of its patents

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Enova Technology Corp (伊諾瓦), a maker of encryption solutions used in hard disks, filed a lawsuit in the US on Wednesday claiming Initio Corp (晶量半導體) and Western Digital Corp had infringed on two of its patents on data encryption.

Hsinchu-based Enova alleged that Western Digital’s sales of its My Book and My Passport brands of external storage devices in the US had infringed on its patents, while Initio had illegally made use of its chip controller patent, especially in a model known as INIC-1607E.

The two patents involve technology for encrypting or decrypting storage media, including disk drives, in a real-time manner without compromising overall system performance, Enova said in a court filing document posted on its Web site.

Enova Technology was founded in April 2000 and has invested significantly in these patent technologies, the company said. Enova founder Wann Shuning “pioneered the development of ground-breaking products, including the first real-time full disk encryption ASIC technology,” it said.

Initio and Western Digital “have ridden on the coattails of Enova’s significant investments in research and development by infringing [on] the patents,” the document stated.

Taipei-based Initio develops semiconductor products such as integrated circuit controllers and software and sells them to companies such as Western Digital, while Western Digital makes storage products for original equipment manufacturers, resellers or retailers.

An official at the office of the president of Initio said by telephone yesterday the company was not aware of the issue and offered no comments.

Robert Blair, a Western Digital spokesman, told Bloomberg it was looking at the complaint and had no comments, either.

Lake Forest, California-based Western Digital, which reported US$7.45 billion in sales for the last fiscal year, plans to spend US$4 billion in the next five years to expand in Asia, Bloomberg said.

Enova’s lawsuit followed in the footsteps of Richtek Technology Corp (立錡), a leading analog IC designer in Taiwan, which filed a patent infringement lawsuit with the US International Trade Commission last week against five companies — including the world’s No. 2 microprocessor maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Sapphire Technology Ltd (藍寶科技) in Hong Kong, US-based Diamond Multimedia Inc and XFX Technology Inc, as well as Taiwan’s uPI Semiconductor Corp (力智電子).

Richtek alleged these companies used its business secrets “inappropriately” and had infringed three of its patents.

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