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Toshiba settles spat with Flash memory inventor

Boffin gets ¥87m but wanted ¥1bn

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Toshiba is to pay ¥87m ($758,000) to settle a lawsuit brought against it by an ex-employee: Dr Fujio Masuoka, the man credited with inventing Flash memory.

Masuoka sued Toshiba in 2004, demanding compensation for the work he'd put into developing a number of semiconductor technologies later patented and exploited by his former employer. Masuoka invented Flash memory in 1984. He joined Toshiba in 1971 but in 1994 he quit to take up a professorship at the Solid State Electronics Research Institute at Tohoku University.

Last week, two parties agreed to end their dispute. Toshiba and Masuoka agreed to state they are "no longer any outstanding issues or liabilities between them in respect of these employee's inventions" and that Toshiba will cough up the ¥87m.

It's clearly a win for the corporation: Masuoka had told the court in 2004 that he believed ¥1bn ($9.1m) was appropriate compensation for the contribution his inventions had made to Toshiba's profits - estimated by Masuoka at ¥20bn between 1984 and 2003. ®

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