SanDisk Sues Just About Everyone It Can Think Of For Patent Infringement

from the and-using-the-loophole-too dept

Apparently SanDisk feels that it's been wronged. It believes that just about every company that makes USB flash drives, CompactFlash cards, multimedia cards, MP3/media players and/or other removable flash storage products are violating SanDisk patents. These products have been around for quite some time, but SanDisk doesn't name the specific patents in its press release, so it's not clear if these are new patents, or SanDisk's lawyers woke up one morning and suddenly decided it would be fun to sue for patent infringement. And, sue for patent infringement they did. They've targeted 25 companies with patent infringement lawsuits, and (for good measure) are using the infamous ITC loophole to ban importing any of these company's products into the US (which could happen even if the patent lawsuits get thrown out). It's certainly tough to judge the quality of the patents in play here, but the fact that there are at least 25 companies in the space doing the same thing, and all are getting sued at once, it makes you wonder how non-obvious the patents were in the first place...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:17am

    I guess sandisk just got tired of manufacturing flash products and prefer to make their money from royalities and settlements, because I sure won't be buying any sandisk products directly if this ends up playing out badly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:24am

    Inflated prices

    They needed to do something to inflate the price of flash storage. The prices have dropped significantly in the past year. I remember paying near $40 for a 256kB xD Picture Card a year and a half ago. Now I can get a 2GB for $20. Just gotta slow down the innovation a little.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:32am

    Mike's nonsense

    Mikey

    WTF are you talking about ?

    Not sure about this particular case, would need to read and understand the damn patents first
    But let me tell you how this plays in general with *valid* patent on novel and non0obvious inventions
    Once the patent app is published (usually years before the actual patent is granted and lawsuit can be initiated) every manufacturer and his brothwer adopts technology in their products *without* even thinking about licensing it first
    Like I told you beforre, it;s a dog-eat-dog world by corporate design
    Gotta love it dude

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:36am

    Tax it

    I think it's high time the nutjobs in charge of certain states of the united variety started imposing a tax/fine/levy on companies who introduce frivolous lawsuits.

    The tax could be proportionate to the amount of court time wasted, and the extent of the damages sought.

    Kind of like capital gains tax, except the company bringing the suit pays whether they win or not.

    The only way this will stop happening is when it stops making good financial sense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Long Gone, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:53am

    I don't understand why

    judges don't impose that sort of thing to begin with. Like that guy who sued the cleaners in DC for losing his pants for $4 million or whatever it was. Why didn't the cleaners counter-sue for lost income, attorney fees, and pain and suffering damages???? If I was the judge in that case, I would have given the same amount to the cleaners just for the stupidity level on the charges.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Dr. Lecter, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:06pm

    techidiots

    Donate your brains to feed the hungry , retards !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:06pm

    Re: I don't understand why

    the "guy" happened to be a judge, just fyi

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:08pm

    I would need to read the patents...

    If SanDisk (which if I remember correctly, did) have the patents for the design of the first Flash drive I would think other companies would need to pay royalties.

    After all (unlike Vonage and other services) flash drives were not an invention that was a logical step in the development of removable storage devices. The product was unique at the time.

    As far as compact flash and the other things go, it was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to make some storage device small enough to fit into a camera and small electronics.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Danny, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Tax it

    That would work but you have to make sure that the money collect in the manner you just described is being used a manner so that it doesn't end up in some politician's pocket or some fund that will end up going right back into corporations. If not you will have politicians deeming legit lawsuit frivolous just to get the money or end up with another USF.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Sandisk Rocks, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:34pm

    eh

    Who cares it just another example of standard business in the U.S. SanDisk product is good and I will keep using it, nuff said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:21pm

    Lost business

    I was about to buy a couple new SD cards. I guess I will have one less vendor to choose from. A while back I decided to stop buy products from vendors that use the DCMA and patent law suits as way to make more money. Lately that is really narrowing down my selections on certain things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Hoojah, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:28pm

    If SanDisk had started sueing in the beginning and all these other companies had to start paying royalties, guess where the innovation for these devices would be now? In the turlet, that's who.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:39pm

    Re:

    Yes, let us not forget that the market for flash is vibrant and if sandisk had constricted it from the outset, it might not be. I hate to flail my heavy hand around and tell people what to do with their IP, but I like this vibrant market and every single employee, owner, or shareholder at sandisk is profiting from that mightily in their individual lives right now, already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Vincent Clement, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:46pm

    So at what point do other foreign companies start using the version of the ITC in their home country to ban products made in the US? So much for free trade.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:52pm

    RE: RE: RE : RE: :: RE:: ER:: Mike's nonsense by a

    well. this guy must work for sandisk, and is defending the short F*($ company.

    2, if sandisk sues, well, lets just hope nobody slaps the governemtn with the common sence stick, which would mean they would fine the heck out of sandisk for monopoly. yay



    excuse my horrid spelling, im not an english major

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 2:22pm

    Re: RE: RE: RE : RE: :: RE:: ER:: Mike's nonsense

    well. this guy must work for sandisk, and is defending...

    I like how the cowards always say if you disagree with a TechDirt story and side with a company you work for them or are a shill.

    So far, I now work at Microsoft, Amazon, the RIAA, and EULA (maybe I would make more money if I actually did). Just because these companies do a lot of bad, occasionally they do something good that is overlooked or taken out of context.

    I wish the cowards would come up with better insults and major in English.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Hael, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 2:37pm

    ITC and Free Trade

    The International Trade Commission (ITC) is an international body that rules on trade issues brought at an international level. There is only one version! For starters, all countries have some sort of established barriers to free trade. These barriers are called tariffs, aka customs duties. In addition, many countries levy an additional value added tax (VAT) on goods imported from the U.S. End result is that US goods are more expensive to purchase in foreign countries. However, we do the same thing to other countries. Imported shoes? Add on at least 25% duty to the cost of the goods. Yeah...you the consumer are paying that duty if you choose to buy imported goods. However, if you buy American, then you are paying for just the true manufacturing costs, plus markup. I look at the buying of imported goods kind of like a voluntary tax for idiots. Falls into the same category as gambling. Suckers!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Kyros, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 2:46pm

    I could see how ScanDisk might want to sue for patent infringement, but theres two things to this that seem odd to me. First of all, it's 25 companies at once. Second, they've waited until now to do it. It's not as if they sued the first person to steal their product, which would be perfectly legitimate and a fair use of the patent system. The issue is when they wait a few years and sue everyone at once...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 3:18pm

    Sandisk SOP

    Sandisk has a long history of suing
    (and being sued) over patent infringement.

    Most often Sandisk claims patent 5,602,987
    is being violated and the claim is judged
    invalid.

    They've launched multiple party suits
    before too but I don't recall any as
    large as 25.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  

    Patent Lawsuits

    Nothing new. Patent Lawsuits are the flavor of the month. Sandisk has every right to their opinion and their decision to sue and if successful, will no doubt ask for court costs also.

    On the other hand, those companies being sued will either settle or fight back with claims of a frivolous lawsuit seeking damages from Sandisk. Sandisk knows this risk and has obviously decided it's worth it.

    Let the bell ring, come out fighting and let's see who wins (besides the lawyers.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 6:57pm

    Next logical step

    A new medium on which to store data. Of course it was the next logical step. This was obvious long ago.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Danny, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:09pm

    Re: Re: RE: RE: RE : RE: :: RE:: ER:: Mike's nonse

    You work for End User License Agreements? Cool.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Willton, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:27pm

    This happens already

    It's called Rule 11 sanctions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Willton, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:35pm

    Re: Next logical step

    But what was that new medium on which to store data? Did you know? Did those skilled in the art know? It's not the fact that it was a new medium; it's what that new medium was that's pertinent. Sure, a new medium was obvious. But how to create it was not. That's the difference.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:15pm

    perfectly legitimate and a fair use of the patent system

    laughable in the corporate context

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Next logical step

    "But how to create it was not."
    SanDisk invented flash RAM ? I think not. Nor were they the first to use it as a temp storage device. This needs a smack down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    plastic molding, May 16th, 2009 @ 3:16am

    good?

    How's China printing industry developed this years, who can tell us? China based plastic injection molding services with low costs and supeior quality Steel and aluminum scaffolding for construction is a very useful tool.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    China Tent, Oct 8th, 2010 @ 11:58pm

    I was actually looking for this resource a few weeks back. Thanks for sharing with us your wisdom.This will absolutely going to help me in my projects .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    lrobbo (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 3:54pm

    This was simply ridiculous but not surprising . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This