Spansion Adds Copyright Claim to Macronix Suit

Flash memory startup Spansion today tacked on a copyright infringement claim against rival Macronix, seeking $100 million.

The suit, which builds on Spansion’s allegations that Macronix infringed on its trademark and practiced false advertising, alleges that Macronix misrepresented itself as an authorized second source for Spansion MirrorBit Flash memory, and falsely marketed its products as compatible with Spansion’s products.

Spansion and Macronix are makers of Flash memory chips and cards, which are used in several devices, such as MP3 players and digital cameras, to store data.

Flash memory is prized because the data is retained even when the power is cut off. Analysts expect the Flash memory segment to continue to be a multi-billion-dollar market.

Spansion said it filed an amended complaint after it discovered that Macronix took copyrighted MirrorBit marketing materials, copied sections of them, and used them to falsely market Macronix products as compatible with Spansion MirrorBit products.

“By violating our copyrights and unlawfully using the MirrorBit brand name, Macronix has yet again illustrated their complete disregard of U.S. trademark and copyright laws,” said Robert Melendres, executive vice president of corporate development, general counsel and corporate secretary for Spansion.

“We plan to protect our assets with all the means available to us under the law.”

The amended suit was filed in a California district court in San Jose, Calif., with Spansion asking the court to order Macronix to forfeit all its ill-gotten gains and pay Spansion for the violations.

In addition to the $100 million, Spansion is seeking statutory damages; an order impounding any Macronix materials that violate Spansion’s registered copyrights; and an injunction stopping Macronix from continuing its violations.

Spansion’s move versus Macronix is the second major Flash-related lawsuit. Lexar is suing Toshiba for breach of trade secrets and patent infringement.

Micron agreed to acquire Lexar for $688 million.

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