Toshiba Corp yesterday said it had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against four Taiwanese companies in the nation’s Intellectual Property Court.
The Japanese electronics company alleged that the four companies — Powerchip Technology Corp (力晶), Zentel Electronics Corp (力積), Powerflash Technology Corp (智旺) and CTC Co (瑄譽) — have infringed on patents for its NAND flash memory-related products.
NAND flash is a type of memory chip used in storage products such as memory cards and universal serial bus (USB) items.
Toshiba said that the four companies had offered NAND flash memories without obtaining its license.
While the company has issued notices to Powerchip regarding its use of Toshiba patents, the Taiwanese firm has ignored all of its notices, leaving the company no recourse other than taking legal action, Toshiba said in a statement posted on its Web site.
Hsinchu-based Powerchip, led by chairman Frank Huang (黃崇仁), has shifted its business away from the volatile DRAM business over the past two years to focus on foundry sales.
Zentel, which designs niche memory chips primarily used in consumer electronics, was also founded by Huang in 2002.
“Toshiba is asking the court to enjoin the firms to stop manufacturing and selling NAND flash memory products that infringe the patents,” Toshiba said in the statement.
The Japanese company said it is also seeking compensation from the four Taiwanese firms, but did not specify cash amounts in the statement.
A Toshiba spokesman told Reuters yesterday that the company was seeking NT$100 million (US$3.3 million) in compensation in the case.
NAND memories are a key source of profit for Toshiba, whose key competitors include South Korean firm Samsung Electronics Co and US chipmaker SanDisk Corp.
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