Patent Troll Sues Micron Technology For US$480 Million In “AI Proxy War”


A South Korean company known as Mimir IP recently filed a US$480 million (~RM2.26 billion) against US chip maker Micron Technology, over alleged patent infringements. The lawsuit was made to the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the US District Court, and also included other several companies, including Tesla, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. As secondary defendants.

What really makes this lawsuit interesting, if not fascinating, is the company filing the lawsuit. You see, Mimir IP itself is what is known as a non-practicing entity (NPE) or in simple English, a patent troll. Basically, these trolls do not actually produce anything and instead, they just buy and hold on to patents, with the express purpose of suing any company that “infringes” on its patents, for profit.

(Image source: Techspot.)

According to the Korea Economic Daily (KED) report, the patent troll currently holds 1,500 chip-related patents from SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker. On that note, Mimir IP is suing Micron for six patents related to circuits, voltage measurement devices, and non-volatile memory devices for the lawsuit.

As for the fascinating part of this lawsuit – many of us may not realise it but Mimir IP’s lawsuit is a form of proxy war between the chipmakers. Companies tend to sell patents of their technologies to patent troll as a way to deflect any direct involvement against their rivals. In this case, the three biggest DRAM makers, Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron, have prepped their NPE cannons since last year, especially in light of the surging trend that is AI.

(Image source: KED.)

Micron sold around 400 patents to a patent troll known as Lodestar Licensing Group in March, while in June last year, Samsung gave 96 of its patents to IKT, a troll affiliated with Samsung Display. For now, it will be interesting to see how Micron will respond to the lawsuit.

(Source: KED, Techspot)

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