Patent infringement lawsuits are common in the hardware manufacturing industry, but storage card maker SanDisk Corp. caught the attention of IT industry bloggers last month when it filed two claims against 25 competitors in a Wisconsin District Court and launched a complaint to the International Trade Commission (ITC).
Defendants include LG Electronics of Korea and Kingston Technology Inc. In its lawsuit, Milpitas, Calif.-based SanDisk alleges its competitors infringed five of its patents used in removable storage products, including USB flash drives, CompactFlash cards, multimedia cards and MP3 players. SanDisk is asking the ITC to prohibit the defendants from importing their products into the U.S. On the blog site of Wired magazine, David Becker observes SanDisk “seems to have sued just about the whole flash industry, including the top producers of memory cards, thumb drives, media players and more.”
Another tech industry blogger, Nilay Patel, says more news should emerge soon because the District Court in the western district is known as a “rocket docket.” Patel writes: “Apparently, SanDisk just noticed that other companies have had the nerves to ship flash-memory devices, because it’s just dropped two lawsuits and an International Trade Commission action against some 25 companies…” Patel notes the ITC case is where the “real action” is, because that “could result in a stoppage of flash imports if successful.”
In a SanDisk press release, the vendor’s Chief Intellectual Property Counsel stated the company wants to “resolve these matters by offering the defendants the opportunity to participate” in SanDisk’s patent licensing program.