asking the U.S. Government to ban the import of some notebooks that are being manufactured by Taiwan’s leading manufacturer, Asustek Computer, Inc. According to the complaint that has been filed, Asus’s products infringe on three IBM-owned patents.
Asus at one time did license the use of these patents from IBM, but that agreement expired on December 31, 2004. According to the complaint, Asus has continued to sell notebooks that use IBM technology after the agreement expired.
Below the surface this might be a bit more of a problem than it first appears, as Asus is the OEM who builds notebooks for such clients as Sony, Dell and Apple, among others. Notebooks that Asus is building for other clients could also be affected; however, no specific list of Asus manufacturers was available.
It is not yet known if other manufacturers beyond Asus might be affected by this development. IBM, however, said that infringing products include notebooks, computers, servers, routers and some components that are used with these products, as well. This could strike a serious blow to Asus, which has been trying to establish its own brand of notebooks here in the U.S.
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