Chip makers settle legal battle over leak claim

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Chip makers settle legal battle over leak claim

South Korean chip maker SK Hynix and U.S.-based chip supplier SanDisk have settled a legal battle over an alleged technology leak.

The two companies said yesterday they agreed to settle an ongoing legal battle over a technology leak allegation filed by the U.S. firm. Instead, the two parties plan to extend agreements regarding intellectual property partnership and the supply of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM).

In 2014, SanDisk alleged that one of its former employees who moved to SK Hynix leaked confidential business information in 2008. The lawsuit sought damages, an injunction and other compensation against the Korean company for the alleged trade secret misappropriation.

Under the new agreement that will expire on March 31, 2023, SanDisk will grant some of its intellectual property rights to SK Hynix in exchange for royalty payments.

The partnership will also let SK Hynix supply SanDisk with certain DRAM products.

“Based on a more concrete partnership, the lawsuit filed by SanDisk in March last year will be cancelled,” SK Hynix said in a statement.

In the lawsuit, SanDisk claimed that the alleged theft deals with trade secrets related to NAND flash technology. The company pointed to a former engineer of SanDisk who left the company in 2008 to work for SK Hynix as the culprit.

“SK Hynix has cleared uncertainties through this partnership,” the company said, “so that the company can fully focus on developing products.”

“We believe this resolution is positive for both SK Hynix and SanDisk and our customers. We look forward to this renewal and extension of our business collaboration with SanDisk,” said Park Sung-wook, president and chief executive officer of SK Hynix.

SanDisk also hailed the success of the settlement. “We are pleased to have reached this important settlement and to expand our commercial relationship with SK Hynix.

“We believe this resolution acknowledges the value of our intellectual property while providing SanDisk access to DRAM solutions desired by our customers for their mobile and SSD applications for many years to come,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, president and chief executive officer of SanDisk.

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