MRAM patents news

Everspin and Seagate announce an IP patent assignment and licensing agreement

Everspin Technologies announced that it has signed an IP cross-licensing agreement with Seagate Technology. Everspin will license specific Tunneling Magnetoresistance (TMR) patents to Seagate, while Seagate will license MRAM patents to Everspin.

Everspin Technologies chip photo

Everspin says its IP portfolio is now stronger which will provide further protection to for its products and services, while Seagate will gain license to TMR IP which can be used in HDD head technology.

Crocus says it prevailed in their patent case against spin transfer technologies

In November 2013, Crocus Technology filed an Inter Partes Review petition to the US PTO, claiming that Spin Transfer Technologies's US patent #6,980,469 describes a technology already used in prior art, in particular in the patent portfolio of Crocus. In April 2014, the USPTO issued a preliminary decision in favor of Crocus' petition.

Crocus now says that it has prevailed in the Inter Partes Review of the patent. Crocus petitioned to cancel all or part of the patent as Crocus’s patent portfolio includes a patent on this technology that makes advanced non-volatile memory blocks more efficient. After careful consideration, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the US Patent and Trademark Office issued its final written decision cancelling or finding unpatentable all but three claims of the ’469 patent.

Avalanche has been awarded four more key STT-MRAM patents

Last month we reported that Avalanche Technology has been awarded four key "milestone" patents for its STT-MRAM technology and solid-state storage array system design. Today the company announced that it has been awarded four new STT-MRAM patents in areas of Perpendicular STT-MRAM and MRAM Integration and Manufacturing. Avalanche has over 200 filed patents that covers the full spectrum from memory cell/circuit design and manufacturing to solid-state storage system development and deployment.

The company has been awarded three key patents in the area of Perpendicular STT-MRAM:

Crocus says the USPTO ruled a favorable preliminary decision in their case against STT's patent

In November 2013, Crocus Technology filed an Inter Partes Review petition to the US PTO, claiming that Spin Transfer Technologies's US patent #6,980,469 describes a technology already used in prior art, in particular in the patent portfolio of Crocus.

Crocus Technology now says that the USPTO issued a preliminary decision in favor of Crocus' petition - saying that there is a “reasonable likelihood” that Crocus will prevail with respect to its challenge. The patent in question describes a high-speed low power magnetic devices based on current induced spin-moment transfer.

NVE and Everspin agree to drop their lawsuits against each other

In January 2013, NVE filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Everspin Technologies. A few months later, Everspin filed a patent lawsuit of their own against NVE.

Yesterday NVE announced that the two companies agreed to drop both lawsuits and will not assert the patents in those suits against each other in the future. NVE says that this agreement (which seems to be a appointment's to their shareholders) is limited to the patents in the 2012 lawsuits.

Avalanche has been awarded four key "milestone" STT-MRAM patents

Avalanche Technology has been awarded four key "milestone" patents for its STT-MRAM technology and solid-state storage array system design. Avalanche has over 200 filed patents that covers the full spectrum from memory cell/circuit design and manufacturing to solid-state storage system development and deployment.

Avalanche (founded in 2006 and based in California, US) developed patented Spin Programmable STT-MRAM (SPMEM) memory that uses a revolutionary proprietary spin current and voltage switching technology. The company wants to license their technology for embedded applications and also build discrete standalone memory devices. In July 2012 the company raised $30 million.

Researchers develop a new MRAM structure that may increase reliability and be easier to implement

Researchers from the National University of Singapore developed a new MRAM device structure technology that may prove to be easier to implement and have high reliability compared to current MRAM structures.

The researchers explain that current MRAM uses horizontal (in-plane) current-induced magnetization. This requires ultra-thin ferromagnetic structures which are challenging to implement and also suffer from low reliability. The new design uses magnetic multilayer structures as thick as 20 nanometer, providing an alternative film structure for transmission of electronic data and storage.

Crocus files a petition to the US PTO saying that an STT patent should be cancelled

Crocus Technology filed an Inter Partes Review petition to the US PTO, claiming that US patent #6,980,469 describes a technology already used in prior art, in particular in the patent portfolio of Crocus. The patent in question describes a high-speed low power magnetic devices based on current induced spin-moment transfer, and is owned by New York University (although crocus says in their PR that it is owned by Spin Transfer Technologies (STT).

Crocus currently holds 154 patents, describing their Magnetic Logic unit (MLU) design and manufacturing as well as generic technologies like STT (Spin Torque Transfer).

France's MARS project details new MRAM developments

One year ago, the French National Research Agency (ANR) launched an MRAM project called MARS (MRAM based Architecture For Reliable and low power Systems). The main focus of this project is the study of MRAM technology's contribution to embedded processors architectures. MARS also aims to build new MRAM architectures and design new software models.

The MARS project already reached several milestones:

  • An open-source, generic STT and TAS compact Model (Spinlib library) for electrical simulation
  • Developed new Non-Volatile Flip Flop (several patents were already requested) and a new non-volatile SRAM/MRAM memory (also patented)
  • A full study on reliability on the STT-MRAM comprising noise and stochastic effects
  • A study on the use of MRAM on the embedded processor hierarchy (MRAM cache memory based architecture)
  • New MRAM/DRAM cells was designed and successfully tested on silicon

Researchers develop new fast-writing high-density MRAM tech, seek commercialization

Researchers from the University of Virginia have developed a novel technology using MRAM for short- and long- term storage solutions. This device uses a spinning torque current to change the magnetization of each memory domain to achieve higher memory bit density and faster writing speeds. These memory domains are allocated along the memory line and a multi-ferroic element near each domain provides magnetization stability when a voltage is not being applied.

To write the individual bit, a current is passed through the memory line and the interaction of the multi-ferroic element and the free layer determines either “1” anti-parallel polarity between layers (high resistance) or “0” parallel polarity between layers (low resistance). The magnetization of the memory domains is then changed by reducing the exchange bias between the memory line and the multi-ferroic element (see figure above). Memory domains are independently writable and only require a single current input to store data. This significantly reduces energy consumption and time for the writing cycle, thereby improving both cost and performance efficiency.