Toshiba and Micron Technology have settled a number of outstanding lawsuits regarding alleged patent infringement and theft of trade secrets related to computer memory chips.
Under terms of an agreement announced Friday, Toshiba will purchase some Micron patents related to semiconductor technology and license patents previously owned by Lexar Media, which was acquired by Micron earlier this year. Toshiba will pay US$288 million to Micron in return for the patents and licenses, Toshiba said.
The amount is substantially less than the US$465 million in compensation awarded to Lexar by a California court in 2005. The payment has been on hold since late last year after Toshiba succeeded in having the damages reconsidered and filed an appeal seeking to overturn the original guilty verdict. Earlier this year, Lexar raised the stakes by asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to bar the import of some of Toshiba’s NAND flash-memory chips and products containing them.
The ITC action will now be dismissed, along with others at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the California Court of Appeals, Toshiba said.
Toshiba became business partners with Lexar when it invested $3 million in the company in 1997 and acquired a seat on its board of directors. According to Lexar’s original complaint, Toshiba sat on the board for two and a half years and gained access to the company’s product plans and technology, while at the same time working with Lexar rival SanDisk.
-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)
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