Sunnyvale, California–AMD and Alliance Semiconductor Corp. have settled the patent infringement lawsuit filed by AMD against Alliance in 1996, asserting that Alliance’s Flash memory devices infringed two AMD Flash memory patents. The two companies now are discussing future joint projects.
Under the terms of the settlement, both AMD and Alliance have agreed to drop their claims and counterclaims against each other, and Alliance will pay AMD an undisclosed sum for past damages. The companies will enter into a royalty-bearing license agreement for future sales of two existing Flash memory products. Also part of the agreement, the two companies have submitted to the San Jose District Court a consent judgment that finds the two AMD patents are both valid and enforceable, and certain Alliance Flash memory devices infringed AMD’s patents.
The two disputed patents are U.S. Patent Nos. 5,007,691 and 5,126,808, which relate, respectively, to AMD’s negative gate erase technology, and its sector architecture. Both are fundamental patents, claims AMD, which are the result of its early innovations in Flash memory technology and represent critical technologies required to produce competitive products in the Flash memory market today.
“This judgment clearly recognizes the importance and validity of AMD’s intellectual property,” said Walid Maghribi, group vice president of AMD’s Memory Group. “We will continue to enforce and vigorously protect our valuable patent portfolio and we are extremely pleased that our patents have withstood an extensive legal challenge.”
“I am pleased that AMD and Alliance have been able to reverse the tide from a legal battle to a potential partnership where we can both benefit from each other’s strengths,” commented Dr. Ritu Shrivastava, Alliance’s vice president of technology development and general manager of Flash Products.
AMD and Alliance have entered into discussions of future joint projects that could take advantage of AMD’s strength in the Flash memory market, and Alliance’s strength in the SDRAM market.