The latest skirmish in a giant patent fight over flash memory chips in MP3 players, cell phones, digital cameras and tablet computers got a green light to proceed from the International Trade Commission.
The commission voted yesterday to institute an investigation into a patent infringement complaint filed by Spansion LLC of Sunnyvale, Calif. against Samsung Electronics Co., Samsung International Inc., Samsung Semiconductor Inc., Apple Inc., Nokia Corp., PNY Technologies Inc., Research in Motion, and Transcend Information Inc.
No stranger to the ITC, Spansion has another flash memory chip patent case involving a dozen defendants currently pending before administrative law judge Charles Bullock. The target date for his initial determination is mid-September, according to Spansion.
At the same time, Samsung is suing Spansion and others at the ITC in a case also involving flash memory patents. That case is pending before administrative law judge Carl Charneski.
A former division of Advanced Micro Devices, Spansion holds more than 3,000 patents and provides flash memory products to more than 4,500 customers.
In a press release, Spansion said that “Samsung is the subject of these litigations, [but] current ITC procedures dictate that Spansion name manufacturers of downstream products containing Samsung infringing devices in its ITC complaint.” Spansion alleges infringement of four patents and is asking for an exclusion order barring imports of products containing the infringing flash memory chips.
Spansion is represented by Bureden Warren, Joel Freed, Stephen Shahida, Robert Walters, and Terrence McMahon of McDermott, Will & Emery. Samsung in prior disputes has turned to Kirkland & Ellis.