SUNNYVALE, CA, Sept. 8, 2000-SanDisk Corporation (NASDQ:SNDK) described as unfounded and lacking in merit a patent infringement suit filed against it Thursday by Lexar Media, Inc. The suit alleges that SanDisk's SmartMedia cards, readers and drivers infringe on a Lexar patent (No. 5,479,638) and seeks to enjoin the sales of these products and unspecified damages.
Eli Harari, President and CEO of SanDisk, called the suit, "A desperation move by Lexar to buttress its weak position in the pending litigation between SanDisk and Lexar before the U.S. District Court in San Francisco." He referred to a court order already obtained by SanDisk which holds that all of Lexar's current CompactFlash™ and PC cards contributorily infringe on a SanDisk patent (U.S. Patent No. 5,602,987).
The latest suit was filed on September 7, 2000 by Lexar in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware where both firms are incorporated.
SanDisk strongly stressed that Lexar's allegations are completely unfounded. SanDisk said it plans to vigorously defend itself against Lexar's claims. SanDisk also pointed out that the SmartMedia cards, readers and drivers referred to in Lexar's complaint are purchased by SanDisk from third parties, who design and manufacture the products.
SanDisk's lawsuit against Lexar is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 23, 2000 before the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Having already proven infringement, SanDisk is seeking damages for willful infringement, the recovery of its legal expenses, plus a permanent injunction against Lexar's sales of their current CompactFlash and PC card products.
Should SanDisk win its lawsuit, Lexar would be required to cease the sale of its current CompactFlash and PC card products and develop redesigned products that avoid infringement of the '987 patent. Lexar has stated in its Aug. 8, 2000 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, related to its initial public offering, that Lexar "cannot be certain that the redesigned products will have all the functionality, including the high write speed, of [its] current products."
Harari noted that "SanDisk has all along held that the innovations of SanDisk's '987 patent teach precisely those critical elements of high performance and high reliability, and we welcome an outcome of the current '987 litigation which would result in Lexar's redesign of its CompactFlash and PC card products."
SanDisk, founded in 1988, is the world's largest supplier of flash data storage products and designs, manufactures and markets industry-standard, solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented, high density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is based in Sunnyvale, CA.
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