Siemens Microelectronics said Monday that the company, along with its parent firm in Germany, has filed a patent-infringement suit against LG Semicon.
Filed in U.S. district court in Delaware, the suit alleges LG violated seven Siemens patents related to the design and production of 16- and 64-megabit Dynamic RAM chips.
Jan DuPreez, vice president of memory products for Siemens Microelectronics, said the suit is seeking financial compensation and also demands LG be barred from selling the infringing devices. A similar suit has been filed by Siemens in Germany, but DuPreez said the company also launched a suit to protect its stake in the huge U.S. market, some
40 percent of the worldwide DRAM total.
DuPreez said the patents are related to "any and all 16- and 64-megabit" DRAM devices, but he declined to elaborate on which specific design elements or manufacturing technologies are in question, or on whether it is focused on the newer PC100 chips or older devices that use a 66-MHz bus speed. Although 64-megabit chips are rapidly ramping into the dominant position in the memory market this year, 16-megabit devices are older
technology. "We noticed this infringement awhile ago," he added.
Officials at LG Semicon could not be reached for comment.
Siemens has been bleeding red ink in its memory operations this summer, and announced last month it would close a 16-megabit DRAM fab in North Tyneside, England, following losses so far of $560 million in its chip-making businesses. However, DuPreez reasserted the company's commitment to be a major DRAM player. "We are in this business for the long term, and we are in it in a big way," he said. "We expect to hold 10 percent market share in 1999."