IBM files patent complaint vs Taiwan's Asustek

NEW YORK (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp IBM.N is asking the U.S. government to ban imports of some computers made by Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc 2357.TW, alleging that the products infringe three IBM patents.

IBM said on Thursday it filed a complaint against Asustek and its North American subsidiary, ASUS Computer International, with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

It said the patent infringement occurs in Asustek’s own-brand computers as well as in products the Taiwan contract manufacturer makes for other brands. IBM did not name the other brands.

Asustek's customers include large computer companies such as Apple Inc AAPL.O and Dell Inc DELL.O.

“They use the patented technology for computers they make for others as well as their own brand computers,” said IBM spokesman Ari Fishkind. He would not say if companies besides Asustek could be affected by the complaint.

“It’s in the commission’s hands. It’s not for us to determine,” he said. Asustek continued to sell computers using IBM technology after a licensing agreement between the companies expired on December 31, 2004, he said.

Asustek denied the allegations.

“We have consulted our lawyers in the U.S. and they have concluded that the complaint has no merit,” said Beck Lee, a spokesman for Asustek in Taipei.

IBM said the infringing products include notebook computers, servers, routers and some components. It said the patents cover important aspects of computer systems, including power supplies, computer cooling and computer clustering capabilities.

Asustek has been trying to establish its own brand, following in the footsteps of Taiwanese rival Acer Inc 2353.TW. It has set a goal of becoming the world's fifth-largest notebook computer vendor by 2010.

It launched a cheaper line of laptops called the Eee PC earlier this year and has said it expects to sell 5 million units globally next year.

IBM shares were up 84 cents or 0.8 percent to $109.00 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Asustek shares closed down 2.37 percent in Taiwan on Friday.

Reporting by Tiffany Wu and Sinead Carew, additional reporting by Sheena Lee in Taipei, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace