SanDisk Corp. has issued a statement claiming that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) had issued an initial determination which found that certain accused flash memory products did not infringe the remaining two SanDisk United States Patents. Potentially this means that the lawsuit filed by SanDisk against 25 of its rivals is partly unenforceable.
“SanDisk is disappointed by the initial determination of the administrative law judge. We will continue to vigorously pursue actions against companies that use SanDisk’s patented technology without a license. SanDisk expects that the initial determination will not adversely impact existing licensing agreements or the royalties expected from those agreements” said E. Earle Thompson, vice president and chief intellectual property counsel at SanDisk.
SanDisk initially asserted five patents in the ITC on October 24, 2007 against 25 companies that manufacture, sell and import USB flash drives, flash media cards, MP3/media players and/or other removable flash storage products.
Since late 2007, SanDisk has managed to sign agreements with numerous companies, including Trek 2000 International, PNY Technologies, Verbatim, Add-On Computer Peripherals, Edge Tech Corporation, Infotech Logistic, Interactive Media Corp. (Kanguru), Kaser Corporation, TSR Silicon Resources and Welldone Company. However, some companies, including A-Data Technology, Corsair Memory and Melco Holdings (Buffalo) decided to stop importing controversial products into the U.S.
In case ITC finds that certain patents have not been infringed, the companies, who pay licensing fees to SanDisk, may not only stop doing so, but potentially also demand already paid fees back.