Fri, Nov 15, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Macronix files US Spansion petition

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Memory chipmaker Macronix International Co (旺宏電子) yesterday said it had filed petitions with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to challenge the validity of Spansion Inc’s patents.

The Taiwanese company, which supplies chips to Japanese video games console maker Nintendo Co, has petitioned the USPTO for an “interparties review,” according to a company statement.

The interparties review is a new type of proceeding that became available on Sept. 16 last year to challenge the validity of USPTO patents. The Hsinchu-based company’s latest move represents the continued litigation between the two companies.

In August, Spansion filed legal action against 14 companies, including Macronix, in the US for six patent violations. The Taiwanese company earlier last month responded with a patent infringement lawsuit in the US against the US chipmaker.

“The petitions provide the USPTO with information and/or evidence that the Spansion patents cover technology that was previously invented, published and/or obvious to others in the field, which was not disclosed in Spansion’s patent applications,” Macronix said in the statement.

The company said the petitions also provided specific examples and explanations showing that Spansion’s patents asserted against it are invalid. Therefore, Macronix said it had asked the USPTO to cancel all claims to each of the six patents.

Separtely, E Ink Holdings Inc (元太科技), which supplies e-paper displays for Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle e-reader series, said on Thursday that its South Korean subsidiary, Hydis Technologies Co, had inked a cross-licensing agreement for LCD products with Taiwan’s largest flat-panel maker, Innolux Corp (群創光電).

E Ink said in a stock exchange filing that the 10-year agreement, effective from July 1, allows the two sides to share their patents in the LCD business. In addition, the two sides will begin working more closely on bringing fringe field switching technology into new markets, E Ink said.

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