Originally Posted by anonjoe
Isn't that Samsung that owns 3d nand patents they market it as V nand, noone else is producing it other than Samsung, Intel or Sandisk dont have any ssd in market with 3dnand, they all got old planar.
This is where it gets interesting and I'm not sure exactly how the details work, whose nose is between which cheeks, which contracts were signed in blood etc....
Sandisk and Toshiba branded 3D NAND in 2008. Samsung and Hynix, Micron and others all have their own spin on 3D NAND that are physically different but still similar enough that they fall under Sandisks license. Somehow, even though as far as I can tell Xpoint isn't any more physically distinct from the different 3D NAND's that it wouldn't also fall under Sandisks license, they aren't. Intel and Micron have full ownership over Xpoint (I'm assuming because the cross circuitry allows the memory addresses to be used in a unique way) while everyone else pays licensing fees to Sandisk and I assume not Toshiba for some reason because their name never gets mentioned in the deals.
Want more information? Ask a corporate patent lawyer, this is as far as I care to dig into it. For all I know there's some crazy crap written in some unheard-of agreement that was made when Sandisk bought Matrix, whose tech the original 3D memory that Sandisk made was based off of, that causes everyone to swear fealty to the firstborn of some obscure oligarchy in Mali before anyone can etch a new DIMM prototype.
Crap gets weird in the memory world.EDIT:
Here, I found this.http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/patentscope/en/programs/patent_landscapes/documents/lexinnova_plr_3d_stacked_memory.pdf
It doesn't explain details, because I suspect it'd take a series of novels the size of War and Peace to explain all of the details, but this patent topography analysis shows that Sandisk owns the vast majority of 3D memory patents.
Yes, they keep referring to it as 3D memory patents instead of 3D NAND. No, that does not matter. 3D NAND is a brand name, not a patent or a distinct technology, and as far as I can tell Sandisk and Toshiba created that brand. I don't know if Toshiba still owns their part or if Sandisk bought it or acquired it through a stipulation in the JV agreement or what, but there it is. From a patent standpoint Sandisk is inarguably holding the crown.SECOND EDIT:
I thought I'd clarify a bit on how the logical leap of "Sandisk owns the patents, so Sandisk owns 3D NAND" works when I didn't show anything saying something like "3D NAND is a licensed trademark of Sandisk Corporation Ltd" or some such (because as far as I can tell there has never been any public statement from any company about who exactly owns 3D NAND as a marketing brand).
You'll notice in that patent pdf on page 14 a little graphic demonstrating patent quality and quantity of each company in possession of these patents. At the top of the patent quality heap, above everybody by a full head and shoulders and maybe even a nipple or two, stands Matrix Semiconductors Inc. As I mentioned earlier Matrix Semi was bought by Sandisk. This acquisition was completed in 2006.
Now scroll back up to page 11 and you'll see that Matrix Semi only has 36 patents to their name despite having the "best" patents. At the time that Sandisk bought them, Matrix Semi was the world leader in 3D memory research. They were a small startup company that was just founded in 1999 and they were absolutely dominating the field, so Sandisk snatched them up before anyone else could also get smart and make a better offer.
Those 3 dozen patents are fundamental building blocks of pretty much every 3D Memory technology on the market today.
So when Samsung, Micron, Hynix or any of the other big memory players out there want to make 3D memory, they always have to step to Sandisk and ask to license these fundamental patents. Sandisk has wisely decided it'd be a great idea to make sure that everyone knows that these competitive companies are using Sandisks technology to make their own products, so what they say when these companies ask to purchase licenses is something similar to this....
"Oh, you want to license patents A, B and C? Well, it seems that those patents fall within our 3D NAND licensing package, and in order to license them you're also going to have to license the 3D NAND name. This means that you'll be required by contract to label the architecture as 3D NAND in all of your promotional literature where you would typically be stating......"
Annnd so on. Naturally big players like Samsung have enough leverage and are willing to pay enough money to get special licensing deals, such as being able to label their new lineup as 3D V-NAND, which still sounds like a Sandisk brand but is unique enough to be associated more strongly with Samsung.
Alright, I'm done lecturing. If you haven't figured it out by now you never will.Edited by Ganf - 6/1/16 at 6:14pm