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By | Tony Smith 24th June 2005 09:10

Toshiba to fight 'unjust' Lexar trial verdict

Flash the cash

Toshiba's new chairman has vowed to fight a California court ruling that the Japanese giant stole trade secrets from rival manufacturer Lexar.

Incoming chairman Tadashi Okamura, until today Toshiba's president, told shareholders that the March ruling was "totally unjust". He said the company was considering its "legal response", Reuters reports.

Toshiba maintains it developed its NAND Flash chip technology without outside help. But in March this year, a jury attending the California Superior Court in San Jose agreed that Toshiba's work had been unlawfully aided by intellectual property snatched from Lexar. Lexar alleged that Toshiba took a place on Lexar's board and then subsequently incorporated Lexar's NAND techniques into its own NAND product line.

In March, the trial jury awarded Lexar $465m in damages. At the time, Toshiba said it would challenge the ruling. Okamura's statement comes at the end of a week in which the California court said it had not yet decided if Toshiba's NAND Flash products should be banned from sale within the US.

Toshiba is widely acknowledged as inventing NAND Flash and partners with US market leader SanDisk. Toshiba has revenues of over $52bn and R&D expenditure of $2.4bn, which is four times the revenues of Lexar, at $681m. Toshiba holds some 50,000 patents, home and abroad, with something like 5750 of them relating to Flash memory and other semiconductor technologies, while Lexar holds just 72. ®

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