Ultra Products claim rights to the modular PSU design

"Ultra Products are seeking damages from 22 manufacturers claiming they own the patent to modular PSU designs"

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Patent image of modular PSU
Ultra Products claim rights to modular PSU
 

According to Bit-Tech Ultra Products have filed suit in the US district of Florida against twenty two tech companies, claiming violation of a 2006 patent on modular power supply units for PCs.

The company are claiming that in September 2004 they filed a patent (number 7,133,293) that covers a "personal computer power supply installed within a case of a personal computer" where the rear has a DC output socket "disposed inside of the computer case for mating with removable cables".  Now its pretty clear that the patent describes a modular power supply and the images look like a modular power supply but there is also a question as to whether they were indeed the first to patent it.
 
Ultra Products are seeking triple damages from twenty two companies including very well known manufacturers such as Antec, Sea Sonic, Zalman, Tagan, OCZ, Thermaltake and Corsair (full list below). The reason they are looking for triple damages, which is the maximum under US patent law, is that they say the listed organisations have known about their infringements since 2006 which they claim makes it wilful.
 
However, to make things a little more interesting, there is evidence of another very similar patent from all the way back in April 2000 filed by Hewlett-Packard Company and Tatung Company (number 6,466,433).  While not identical, it does detail a "computer with modular power supply assembly in separate bay" and "an electrical coupling that electrically connects with a coupling mounted inside the computer housing automatically upon insertion".
 
While it isn't Hewlett-Packard and Tatung making the claim, if the Ultra Products patent proves valid, then maybe they would have an argument of their own for prior art?  Ultra claim that they spent over $250,000 on searching for prior art but turned up nothing.  The fact is that if any suit is proved in favour of the above patents then it looks like it would cover pretty much every modular PSU on the market.
 
An employee of one of the defending companies who chose to remain anonymous has said that an overturning of the original patent can't come soon enough as the lawsuit represents “a case of Ultra versus end-users (because by) putting a modular power supply inside a computer, the end-users violated Ultra's patent.”

While it isn't likely that Ultra Products are going to succeed in their cash hunt mainly due to the older patent filed by HP & Tatung we all know funnier things have happened.  It'll be interesting to see where this heads next.
 
 
Do you think Ultra Products are being greedy or do they have every right to take them all to court?  Only problem I see is that even if they win then HP & Tatung could just file a suit against them too.
 
What do you think about it all? Let us know in our forum.
 
 
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.
 
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Most Recent Comments

14-04-2008, 06:04:04

emma
Me and jim are so in need of a holiday. We wanted to do disney but i cant imagin doing the flight with the 2 little ones especially seeing as devon wont sit still for more than 2 secs. Not sure where else to go really, we havent had a holiday in 3 1/2 years and jim deserves a break as he works 24/7 at the mo.

14-04-2008, 06:11:56

AdamR79
I cant afford a holiday, it sucks being self employed, it costs twice as much :(

14-04-2008, 10:14:52

PV5150

Me and jim are so in need of a holiday. We wanted to do disney but i cant imagin doing the flight with the 2 little ones especially seeing as devon wont sit still for more than 2 secs. Not sure where else to go really, we havent had a holiday in 3 1/2 years and jim deserves a break as he works 24/7 at the mo.

I can relate to kids who can't sit still. :D
Do you want to house swap? You come to AUS and stay at our place and we'll look after the Napier mansion for ya :p

14-04-2008, 10:16:34

mrapoc
Go to Butlins or similiar. I went there as a kid and loved it xD

Butlins minehead ftw xD lol

14-04-2008, 10:21:16

mVp24
All Summer:


Art class at community college for HS credit (I'm not wasting AP time for a year of required art)

Driving lessons

SAT prep

And in my free time I will fit in friends, and I will of course spend my nights with OC3D.

:D

14-04-2008, 10:24:35

Jim

Go to Butlins or similiar. I went there as a kid and loved it xD

Butlins minehead ftw xD lol



Funnily enough that was an option, but iirc the bogna one is closer so we was considering going there.

Only thing that stings a bit is that there's no much difference in price going to butlins as there is a holiday abroad :(

14-04-2008, 11:21:41

emma

I can relate to kids who can't sit still. :D
Do you want to house swap? You come to AUS and stay at our place and we'll look after the Napier mansion for ya :p




Napier mansion lol.......since when do we live in a mansion lol or is jim hiding summit from me

14-04-2008, 11:27:27

Mr. Smith

Funnily enough that was an option, but iirc the bogna one is closer so we was considering going there.

Only thing that stings a bit is that there's no much difference in price going to butlins as there is a holiday abroad :(



Y'know what mate, go to Prague or Croatia if you want a beach. The cost of living there is so low, 60p for a 500ml beer when you are out, £5 for something like chicken stuffed with blue cheese... It's hot, it's clean, there is stuff to do... Cheap flights there too, just an option.

14-04-2008, 11:34:33

llwyd
Got no dates set at the moment but will hopefully be getting away to the south of france to stay with my friend and her family in their house out there at some point. Fancy something like newquay too.

14-04-2008, 11:57:37

Rastalovich
Texas, approximately start of June, for a 2.5 week stuff-your-face-fest. 100 degrees, cheap pc stuff..

.. and fix/build some pcs :)
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