Spansion and IBM on Monday announced that they had entered into a seven-year patent cross licensing agreement. The agreement involves patents on IBM’s recently announced “racetrack” memory technology, however, no actual plans regarding any concrete products by Spansion were released.
Recently IBM announced a next generation technology code-named Racetrack, which is an electronic memory solution that combines the best attributes of Flash drives and the hard disk drives. The breakthrough could lead to cheaper, more durable electronic devices that would hold far more data in the same amount of space and boot up more quickly.
Included in Spansion’s patent portfolio are patents relating to its MirrorBit technology, a charge-trapping technology that is believed by Spansion to be the most likely successor to floating gate technology for scaling Flash memory to sub-45nm process lithography nodes. Spansion is the only company in the world to have committed all leading-edge Flash memory production to charge-trapping technology, and sales of products based on MirrorBit technology are on-track to reach $2 billion in 2008. Spansion believes its investment in MirrorBit technology gives it a strong charge-trapping patent portfolio in process, design and manufacturing technologies.
Spansion and IBM will also partner on the continued development of Flash memory solutions for the Chinese market. Spansion has been committed to working with the top consumer electronics OEMs and wireless handset manufacturers in the Greater China region, where it boasts a final manufacturing facility in Suzhou, design centers in Suzhou and Beijing and sales and marketing offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, employing over 1300 employees in those locations.
“We are greatly impressed with IBM’s relentless commitment to invest in disruptive technology, as well as the breadth and depth of their patent portfolio. We believe entering into this patent cross license agreement with IBM gives us access to some of the most advanced technology in the world, providing Spansion the opportunity to further its leadership in Flash memory design, manufacturing and overall innovation,” said Dr. Louis Parrillo, executive vice president of Research and Development for Spansion.