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GSI sues Cypress, other SRAM vendors

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:monopolize? vendor? infrigement?

SRAM vendor GSI Technology Inc. has announced that it filed a complaint in U.S. federal court that alleges Cypress Semiconductor Corp. and other SRAM vendors of conspiring to monopolize the high-performance SRAM market.

GSI said that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) would formally investigate a patent infringement complaint filed last month by Cypress against GSI.

According to GSI, its complaint against Cypress alleges that the company and other co-conspirators engaged in anti-competitive, collusive and conspiratorial conduct that violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act and also constitutes unlawful restraint of trade and unfair competition under California law. The alleged co-conspirators mentioned in the complaint include Micron Technology Inc., Integrated Device Technology Inc., NEC Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Hitachi Ltd and Renesas Technology Corp.

The complaint also accused Cypress and the other companies for manipulating the SRAM market by setting standards amongst themselves in a closed setting, rather than using an open standards body such as JEDEC.

The companies allegedly banded together "to protect their members' SRAM market shares by excluding their competitors from having access to information describing the specific form, fit and function specifications and information that would otherwise be available in an open and public standards body such as Jedec or IEEE," the complaint stated. "Their illegal combination and conspiracy permitted the consortium members to control the market by keeping networking SRAM prices high, locking in the limited number of consumers of networking SRAM before competitors could develop and market competing products and stalling the introduction of competitive products."

The high-performance SRAM devices at issue in the district court case are known as fast synchronous quad data rate (QDR) SRAMs and double data rate (DDR) SRAMs, GSI said.

The GSI complaint seeks undetermined damages, an injunction prohibiting the continuation of the allegedly illegal business practices and recovery of GSI's attorneys' fees and costs, GSI said.

Cypress did not immediately respond to a request for comment on GSI's suit.

Cypress earlier this year filed a complaint against GSI in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota alleging five counts of patent infringement, principally related to GSI's Sigma Quad and Sigma DDR families of SRAM products. The ITC complaint alleges infringement by GSI of four patents and also alleges infringement by two of GSI's distributors and three of GSI's customers who allegedly incorporate GSI's SRAMs in their products.

The Cypress ITC complaint seeks a limited exclusion order excluding the allegedly infringing SRAMs, and products containing them, from entry into the U.S. and permanent orders directing GSI and the other proposed respondents to cease and desist from selling or distributing such products in the U.S.

GSI said it believes that it has "meritorious defenses" to Cypress infringement claims and intends to defend itself vigorously in the ITC proceeding while also vigorously prosecuting its antitrust claims against Cypress.

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times

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