netac_logo.jpgA neat twist to the long-running saga about China and IPR infringements. This time its a Chinese company that sued a western rival for
infringing its patents.

The story, reported here in the Financial Times, dates back to the beginning of this year when Netac Technology, China’s leading maker of Flash memory products, filed a complaint in a US court against New Jersey-based PNY Technologies alleging the latter infringed one of its patents.

Shenzhen-based Netac claims to have invented the first USB flash drive in the world and was awarded a fundamental invention patent in China in 1999 — the first such patent covering computer storage that China had filed in 20 years.

The company has gone on to be awarded more than 200 Chinese and 50 international patents. It has also aggressively pursuing those who it claims infringe its patents. The first targets were Chinese firms as
China accounts for around 60% of the world’s production of USB pen drives. Then Netac turned its sights on Sony. Emboldened by its success, it has now decided to take on a US company — and in a US court.

This is believed to be the first time a Chinese company has filed a patent infringement suit in a US court.

PNY has not published any official response to the suit which
presumably will drag on for some time. So I’m not quite sure why the FT
chooses to bring it up now.

However, the paper argues that this watershed moment could be a
harbinger of things to come, as Chinese companies are becoming much
more aggressive in protecting IPRs both inside China and out.

As mentioned in this EngagingChina story, China has overtaken Europe in the number of patent filings.

For a profile of G. Frank Deng, founder and president of Netac and self-styled “IPR warrior”, see the company’s website.

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