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Ultra Products sues every PSU manufacturer you can think of

by Parm Mann on 10 April 2008, 14:13

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Antec, Corsair, OCZ, Thermaltake, Zalman and more...

Modular power supplies, which allow users to detach unused cables, create less clutter and provide better airflow, are loved by us all. The simple-but-effective idea has to rank up there among some of the very best.

Modular power supply design

The trouble is, who came up with the idea first? Well, a short while back, US-based manufacturer, Ultra Products, was awarded a patent for modular power supply components.

That as you can imagine, spells trouble for every other manufacturer using modular power supply designs and Ultra Products has decided to take them all to court.

A little under a week ago, Ultra Products claimed patent infringement and filed suit at the Florida Middle District Court against some of the very biggest names in the power supply industry, such as Antec, Corsair and Zalman - to name just a few.

No other details are yet known, but with so many big names involved, we're expecting to hear more about this one.

What do you think, dear readers? Is the "sue everyone" mentality getting out of control? Share your thoughts in the HEXUS forums.

The complete list of defendants is as follows:

Antec, Inc., Channel Well Technology Co. Ltd., Channel Well Technology Co. U.S.A., Inc., Corsair Memory, Inc., Enhance Electronics Co. Ltd., E-Power Technology/PCMCIS, SPI Electronic Co. Ltd., FSP Group USA Corp., Koolance USA, Mushkin, Inc., OCZ Technology, Sea Sonic Electronics Co. Ltd., Silverstone Technology, Inc., Spire-Bytecom Fanner Corporation, Tagan Technology Co. Ltd., Tagan Technology Co., Thermaltake Technology Co. Ltd., Thermaltake, Inc., Topower Computer Industrial Co. Ltd., Topower Computer U.S.A., Inc., Zalman Technology Company Ltd. and Zalman USA, Inc.

Source: Justia.com

HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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The patent system has clearly gone crazy, they're awarding ideas that form a very fundamental concept and allowing them to be so heavily back dated is a nightmare for manufacturers.

Surely some common sense has to be applied eventually? That if an idea is already in production, and has been for years, then you can't “back date” damages and awards.
Some details'd be good; patent number, where and when filed, that kind of thing - it's all very well fulminating about how the patent system's gone mad, but that kind of excludes two possibilities:
a) They really DID invent it first, in which case it's logical that they should be rewarded for doing so; or
b) They didn't, it's a frivolous application, and they'll get laughed out of court.
Bear in mind that a patent can be awarded and later revoked for obviousness, prior art, etc. They may have a patent, but that doesn't mean that it's a license to print money.
this is random imo, modular isnt exactly new, took them long enough too randomly say they have a patent. Atleast Xclio isnt getting sued :P, maybe they made it first :)?
Clever thing about this is there are only so many PSU manufacturers, so although there are maybe hundreds of brands they are mostly built for other companies, if they are built under license there could be a caveat that makes the actual manufacturer responsible.

The reason this is interesting though is that ULTRA have gone after those who sell rebranded units too.

Ultra were the first to makret with a modular PSU as far as I know - maybe others checked to see if there was a patent and decided to produce on the grounds there wasn't. This could really sting some big companies if it does come off though…
I had an Ultra modular PSU one.

It was OK for a while, then became unreliable. The modular cables weren't very flexible either.

If you're going to enforce a patent, at least make a decent product out of it.

Perhaps they have now…