IBM files trade complaint against Asustek

IBM files a trade complaint against Asustek, alleging patent infringement.

IBM has filed a trade complaint in the US against Taiwanese hardware vendor Asustek Computer, alleging that the company has infringed IBM patents.

IBM is asking the US International Trade Commission to bar Asustek and North American subsidiary Asus Computer International from importing equipment using PC power supplies, cooling fans and clustering technologies into the US, IBM said Thursday. IBM accused Asustek of infringing three patents related to those technologies.

Imported Asus equipment using the patents include notebook computers, barebones computer systems, servers, routers and several computer components, IBM said.

IBM has attempted to reach a licensing agreement with Asustek, after a licensing deal expired in December 2004, said Ari Fishkind, an IBM spokesman. "We've tried repeatedly to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with them," he said. "We've made repeated attempts in good faith."

A representative of Asus Computer International didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the IBM complaint.

The patents covered in the IBM complaint are specifically for a PC power supply, an automatic fan speed control and a method and apparatus for making a cluster of computers appear as a single host on a network.

"We're going to aggressively protect our investments," Fishkind said.

IBM isn't sure of the trade commission's timetable for looking into the complaint, he added. "It's in their hands now," he said.

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