Toshiba, Hynix Settle NAND Flash Beef


Computer-chip memory makers Toshiba and Hynix Semiconductor have
settled all pending patent litigation between them in the U.S. and
Japan and have agreed to work together.


Toshiba and Hynix said in a statement they have signed patent cross
licensing and product-supply agreements that will allow each company to use
one another’s semiconductor patents.


“The signing of the agreements is a positive step for both companies,” said
Shozo Saito, corporate vice president and executive vice president of
Toshiba’s semiconductor business. “With litigation behind us, and through
these agreements, we can now strengthen our respective businesses.”


The agreement caps litigation Toshiba levied at Hynix in 2004 after the two
companies couldn’t agree on a licensing contract renewal involving NAND
Flash memory chips.


NAND Flash chips are considered highly efficient semiconductors for storing
data on digital devices, such as MP3 players, iPods and digital cameras,
gadgets that are quickly proliferating at a time when customers demand more
mobile technologies.


Toshiba is the leader in this highly litigious NAND Flash market and has
been on the hard-luck end in one high-profile NAND Flash suit.


Last September, Toshiba agreed
to pay $288 million for Micron’s NAND Flash semiconductor technology and
license patents to settle all of the litigation between Toshiba and Lexar
Media, which Micron bought in June.


Hynix is also no stranger to memory chip litigation.


Last April, a San Jose, Calif., federal jury awarded
$306.9 million to memory chip maker Rambus after finding that Hynix had
infringed upon 10 Rambus patents covering Rambus’ SDRAM , DDR SDRAM and DDR2 memory products.

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