FREMONT, Calif. -- Lexar Media Inc. today announced that a federal judge in California has ruled that SanDisk Corp. must go to trial for alleged fraud, patent violations, and unfair competition in a dispute over flash memory technology.
Last month, Lexar filed suit against SanDisk of Sunnyvale, Calif., claiming infringement of U.S. patents in a range of products, including smart cards, readers, and drivers (see Sept. 8 story). Lexar also claimed that SanDisk was being unfair in licensing negotiations related to flash patents. SanDisk responded by filing its own patent suit against the Fremont company.
"SanDisk claims that its patent covers all CompactFlash cards and they appear to be seeking a royalty from every manufacturer of those cards," said John Reimer, president and CEO of Lexar. "Yet they have always promoted the CompactFlash standard as an open one. If SanDisk's '987 patent is as broad as they believe it is, then it should have been disclosed to the industry standards-setting bodies such as the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) and CompactFlash Association (CFA) at the time of the standard's development."
The Lexar chief executive asserted that SanDisk's behavior is anticompetitive and "harmful to the entire industry." He added that the court has agreed to Lexar's claim that SanDisk is refusing to license its '987 patent unless flash memories are purchased from the company.
Lexar said the U.S. District Court of Northern California has set a trial date for Nov. 6 after postponing the case, which was scheduled to start on Monday.