Spansion sues Samsung over flash memory patents

Spansion has filed a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics in federal court and lodged a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission over patents it says it holds for flash memory technology that it says Samsung violated.

The complaint seeks to block the importation of devices with the offending flash memory technology, and names Apple, Research In Motion, Lenovo, Sony and Sony Ericsson as companies who are customers of Samsung and are importing products in violation of the patent. Spansion estimates that the proposed blockade would stop the importation of more than 100 million products a year.

The ITC has become a battleground for tech companies to resolve patent disputes, most notably in the long-running saga between chip makers Broadcom and Qualcomm. However, as that experience has showed, the process of resolving technical disputes can take months, if not years, and never truly end. Spansion CEO Bernard Cambou said the company tried to resolve the matter with Samsung privately, but will pursue it and look to build a new patent-licensing business.

"This is not just a nuisance suit," Cambou said. "This company is going to go all the way--we are not going to stop unless we find a solution."

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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