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Magnaquench sues PC firms over magnet patents

01 May, 2001

Magnaquench sues PC firms over magnet patents

Magnaquench, a US developer and manufacturer of magnetic materials, has filed a suit in the US courts alleging that ten electronic and computer firms - including Sony, Toshiba, Philips, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard - have infringed four of its patents covering neodymium-iron-boron (Nd-Fe-B) rare-earth magnets.

The suit centres on spindle motors used in devices such as CD-ROM drives. The high energy density of the Nd-Fe-B materials allow powerful, miniature permanent magnet motors to be built. The Nd-Fe-B market is worth around $2,400m with computer and automotive applications accounting for 5% of the market.

Magnaquench says it has been forced to take the action to protect its investments and those of its customers. It has asked the courts to impose a range of penalties including the recall of all products that infringe its patents.

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