Business Impact

Samsung takes Renesas technology to U.S. court over patents

May 8, 2007

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Samsung Electronics Co. has filed a lawsuit in the United States alleging patent infringement by Japanese semiconductor rival Renesas Technology Corp. and its U.S. unit, the companies said Tuesday.

A Renesas official in Tokyo said that Samsung had filed the suit alleging patent infringement of memory-chip production technology, and said Renesas was looking into details.

Renesas is ”prepared to argue its case in court,” the official said on condition of anonymity, citing company policy.

In Seoul, Samsung spokeswoman Lee Eun-hee, also confirmed that the suit was filed, but would provide no details.

”Samsung does not comment on an ongoing lawsuit,” she said.

Dow Jones Newswires, citing a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on May 4, reported that Samsung is seeking a permanent injunction restraining Renesas and its subsidiaries from making, selling and importing into the U.S. any product that Samsung claims violates two of its patents.

Samsung, the world’s largest maker of computer memory chips, is seeking an unspecified sum in damages, Dow Jones said.

Renesas, set up jointly by Japanese electronics makers Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. in 2003, is one of the largest semiconductor companies in the world.

Samsung said it is filing the lawsuit in Delaware as Renesas Technology America Inc. is incorporated in the state, Dow Jones said.

The complaint comes after Renesas in January filed two separate cases against Samsung in the same court, Dow Jones said. Renesas alleged that Samsung violated its patents related to dynamic random access, or DRAM, memory technology, causing the company to ”suffer irreparable harm.” Both cases are still pending.

DRAM chips are widely used in personal computers.

Memory chip makers in South Korea and Japan have been locking horns in court over patents, though have also reached settlements, such as one by Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Toshiba Corp. earlier this year.