updated 08:15 pm EDT, Mon August 24, 2009
Flash memory investigation
The US International Trade Commission has reportedly begun an investigation focusing on several companies that produce or purchase NAND flash components, including Samsung, RIM, Apple and others, according to Barron's. BTG International has accused Samsung of violating several patents involving "MLC" type flash memory.
Along with the chip maker, BTG's complaint names a long list of equipment manufacturers that allegedly use the infringing components in a wide range of devices. The Pennsylvania-based company is seeking a Trade Commission ban on the memory and products such as MP3 players and digital cameras.
The ITC filing references a separate lawsuit filed against Samsung in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, a location that sees a disproportionately large number of patent suits. BTG's memory patents involve methods for programming and reading flash memory cells that "store more than a single bit of information per cell."
BTG is asking the ITC to respond with either a general or limited exclusion order. Along with the smartphone makers, the defendant list includes ASUS, Dell, Lenovo, PNY, Sony and Transcend. The Eastern District of Texas case is still proceeding and has not yet reached the discovery phase.