Declaring a key legal victory, SST Technology last Friday said an administrative law judge with the International Trade
Commission (ITC) determined that its SuperFlash flash memory
products did not violate patents held by Atmel, of San Jose.
SST said the decision found Atmel's U.S. patent was not enforceable, and
the Sunnyvale company added that Judge Paul J. Luckern determined
even if the patent was enforceable, Atmel had not established that the
technology was infringed upon by the SuperFlash products.
"This is a great victory for SST," said Bing Yeh, president and CEO of SST. "We told the semiconductor industry that SST did
not infringe any Atmel patents, and Judge Luckern's decision vindicates us."
Yen promised to compete aggressively against Atmel now that the company
has received a favorable decision.
Atmel officials promised to petition the ITC and federal
appellant courts in its complaint.
"We will not be provided with a full text copy of the judge's final initial and
recommended determinations for some time," said Julie Mar-Spinola,
Atmel's director of litigation and intellectual property counsel. "Making any
further comments without more information would only be speculation."
The ITC has 45 days to order a review of the decision. If a review is not
ordered within that time, Judge Luckern's decision becomes binding,
according to SST officials.
"While Judge Luckern's decision is not final, I am confident it will be upheld
by the ITC," said Daniel Johnson, trial counsel for SST.
With his decision, the judge found there were no violations of U.S. custom
laws, which would prevent the import of SST products into the country. In
February, Atmel filed a complaint with the ITC, claiming its patents were
being violated by imported products, which have been produced by Sanyo
Electric in Japan, and Winbond Electronics and Macronix in
The complaint was based on a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Atmel in
1996. No trial date has been set for the suit. In addition, SST has filed a
counter lawsuit against Atmel for damages.