Netlist, which builds NVDIMMs and other memory modules, is suing Google, Samsung and Micron for patent violations and hopes to win licensing fees in the millions, possibly tens of millions or more. And he just got a waystation victory.
The financial outlook is so great that an expert from Seeking Alpha called it the lawsuit of the century.
Netlist has a history of making memory-like products and then suing companies it claims have ripped up its ideas from patents or broken cross-licensing agreements. For example, in 2017 it was suing Diablo Technology over the misuse of its patented NVDIMM technology — until the point where Diablo collapsed and went out of business.
Netlist also sued SK hynix for breaking its patents and received around $40 million from hynix in a cross-licensing deal in April last year.
Waystation’s win was against Samsung, but also involves Google. The Micron suit is a separate issue.
In 2009, Netlist sued Google in a Delaware court and said Google had improperly used intellectual property patented by Netlist – specifically US Patent No. 7,619,912 or the ‘912 patent, which refers to the use rank multiplication in a Long Range DIMM (LRDIMM) memory module. These dimms can have four ranks or blocks of memory, and the patent describes IP for logically presenting the LRDIMM as having only two ranks, thereby overcoming the system memory controller’s limits on the maximum number of ranks.
Agni Research explained: “Netlist claims that the 912 patent allowed Google to build servers with high capacity and fast memory that allowed said servers to store an entire Oracle database in memory, which enabled results super-fast searches. The 912 patent played a big role in Google’s dominance in search.
Google challenged the validity of the 912 patent and, after nine years of legal challenge, the United States Court of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling that the patent was valid.
Meanwhile, Netlist had set up a cross-licensing agreement with Samsung on the use of its technology. Later he ruled that Samsung broke the contractual terms of the deal and filed a lawsuit in 2020 for breaching the terms of the deal, again for patent infringement, then he suspended the deal cross-licensing.
Samsung defended its corner and counter-sued Netlist. Earlier this year, on February 18, Netlist won a victory over Sammy, with the court ruling that the Korean giant had breached the terms of the cross-licensing agreement and Netlist was entitled to suspend the contract. He then sued Samsung for patent infringement in a Texas court.
Keep that in mind as we move on to May 5 of this year, when Netlist’s attorneys won a court ruling in their favor in the Google case. This, they said, meant that Google misused Netlist IP and was liable for patent infringement. Netlist could then legally sue Google for compensation.
That lawsuit was stayed (suspended) for 90 days on July 13, with the judge ruling that because Samsung had supplied the patent-infringing memory modules to Google, things could wait while the court in the Netlist-Samsung case decides. whether Samsung had infringed Netlist’s patent.
Now, finally, we come to the final judgment – a waystation judgment as we call it, because it’s just one waystation on a multi-year legal odyssey. Samsung had filed an amended lawsuit against Netlist which Netlist decided to dismiss. This motion was granted, in part, as the court declared that Samsung could not file a second amended complaint; this door was closed.
Netlist says that “the partial rejection means that Samsung cannot pursue a separate action on the patents that Netlist first asserted in Texas, and cannot now fulfill its alleged obligation to protect Google from the 912 patent in Delaware.” »
So Netlist’s court victory against Samsung is a step on the road to suing Google and hopefully getting mucho licensing revenue, and possibly damages, from Google – as well as licensing revenue from Samsung.
The Micron casee
This completely separate litigation involves Netlist’s assertion that Micron infringed its patented RDIMM and LRDIMM technology – including the 912 patent – by shipping a product and not accepting a requested license agreement. This case began earlier this year and is currently open without a judge being appointed.