VIA sues Asus over alleged theft of USB intellectual property

Asus could be required to pay $138 million in damages and possibly stop producing products that use USB technology.

VIA Technology is suing Asus Group for allegedly stealing its intellectual property related to USB technology.

The company alleges that former VIA executive Chewei Lin stole VIA's intellectual property when he and dozens of VIA employees left the company in 2007 for Asmedia, an Asus Group company. Lin is now Asmedia's president. VIA states that the intellectual property relates to USB technology including host controllers and device controllers.

This technology was then used in products including PCs, external hard drives, and peripherals.

According to VIA, Asmedia previously had no USB expertise, and it should be difficult for anyone to produce USB 3.0 chips without legacy USB 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0 intellectual property.

"It is extremely difficult to develop and take such chips into mass production in such a short time frame [of one year]," the Taiwan Prosecutor said in its criminal case filing.

VIA is seeking at least $138 million in damages, and in addition to Lin has named Asmedia chair Jerry Shen, vice president of R&D Chang Chi, and several other employees in the lawsuit.

The company is additionally seeking for Asmedia to cease the production and sales of the allegedly infringing products.