Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Micron and MOSAID: when foes become friends

Canada Tech Info brings news of yesterday's settlement of patent litigation that has been rumbling on since July 2006 between NYSE-listed Micron Technology, Inc. and its Canadian adversary MOSAID Technologies Inc. 

Under the settlement, Micron will receive a 10-year licence to some of MOSAID's patents, including a life-of-patents licence for all such patents throughout a defined capture period and a fixed-term licence for subsequent patents. Micron's Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), Flash, and other memory and image sensor products are reported to be licensed under the agreement. 

Micron will make a series of fixed cash payments to MOSAID, which will acquire title to 400 Micron patents, this portfolio consisting of patents related to DRAM, Flash memory, and semiconductor process technology. In the first four quarters after the effective date, MOSAID will make fixed payments to Micron, these payments being credited against future payment obligations to Micron under a royalty revenue-share scheme. Further terms of the deal remain confidential. The former foes will now bury the hatchet by filng a joint motion in the US District Court for the Northern District of California to dismiss with prejudice all claims.

Settlements that are as sophisticated as this constitute a category of dispute resolution outcome that is far beyond the scope of any court to order. However, without the direct and ever-present threat of patent litigation, the imperative commitment to devote the time and resources that are necessary to shape a deal such as this, not to mention the effort directed to the reconstruction of each party's business plans, would be lacking.

PatLit thanks Neil Wilkof (Herzog Fox Neeman) for the lead.

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