Viasat sues Western Digital, Kioxia over data-storage patents

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A Viasat sign is shown on one of their buildings in Carlsbad, California, United States May 23, 2016.REUTERS/Mike Blake

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  • Viasat says companies' flash-memory devices infringe patents
  • Western Digital, Kioxia merger talks stalled last month

(Reuters) - Satellite-communications company Viasat Inc sued data-storage company Western Digital and chipmaker Kioxia in Texas federal court Monday, accusing them of infringing its patents related to computer memory.

Viasat said in the complaints filed in Waco, Texas that Western Digital and Kioxia data-storage devices with flash memory infringe by using error-correction technology that mimics its patented innovations.

Western Digital and Kioxia didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Viasat declined to comment.

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Carlsbad, California-based Viasat said it developed improvements to flash-memory technology – which stores data on transistors using electrical charges – while designing error-correction systems for satellites. Viasat said its patented innovations allow flash-memory devices to consume less power and improves their reliability and longevity.

The complaints said Western Digital and Kioxia's flash-memory devices include error-correction technology that works in the same way as its patented technology. It asked the court for an unspecified amount of money damages.

San Jose, California-based Western Digital Corp and Japan-based Kioxia Holdings Corp have been discussing a potential merger in talks that stalled last month. Kioxia was sold by Toshiba Corp in 2018 to a consortium led by Bain Capital.

Scott McBride and Nosson Knobloch of Bartlit Beck and Melissa Smith of Gillam & Smith represent Viasat.

The cases are Viasat Inc v. Western Digital Corp, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, No. 6:21-cv-01230 and Viasat Inc v. Kioxia Corp, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, No. 6:21-cv-01231.

For Viasat: Scott McBride and Nosson Knobloch of Bartlit Beck; and Melissa Smith of Gillam & Smith

For Western Digital: N/A

For Kioxia: N/A

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Merger talks between Western Digital and Kioxia stall - sources

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com