Sunnyvale, Calif - The relative calm in the litigious flash memory market was broken yesterday when SanDisk announced that it had filed a complaint against Micron Technology for infringement of a fundamental solid state flash memory system patent held by SanDisk.
The action was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
According to SanDisk which holds more than 150 related patents, the patent in question ('Flash EEPROM System' U.S. patent 6,149,316), was issued on Nov. 21, 2000. The company has been involved in a number of patent infringement lawsuits over the last year, suing (and in turn counter-sued by) Lexar Media, and suing Viking Components.
The Lexar suit was settled and a resolution in the Viking case is pending, according to a SanDisk spokesman.
Charles Van Orden, general counsel for SanDisk, issued the following statement: 'We believe Micron is using SanDisk's patented technology in an attempt to unfairly capitalize upon the innovations and advancements developed by SanDisk. SanDisk intends to vigorously investigate and prosecute unlicensed companies that improperly use SanDisk's patented technology.'
A Micron spokesman declined to comment.