The complaint alleges that ASUS and its North American subsidiary, ASUS Computer International, are infringing three IBM patents. The charge comes as the new ASUS ultra-mobile computer, the Eee PC, is reaching U.S. consumers. ASUS has said that it expects to sell 3.8 million units of the tiny computer.
IBM said it made repeated attempts to reach a licensing agreement with ASUS before it filed the complaint. In a release, IBM said, "IBM's position has been -- and remains -- that ASUSTek either must license or stop using IBM's patented technology."
IBM listed three alleged offending patents: U.S. Patent No. 5,008,829, Personal computer power supply; U.S. Patent No. 5,249,741, Automatic fan speed control; and U.S. Patent No. 5,371,852, Method and apparatus for making a cluster of computers appear as a single host on a network.
Taken together, the three patents cover a range of computer systems aspects including power supplies, computer cooling, and computer clustering capabilities, IBM said. The U.S. company noted that the U.S. ITC, an independent federal agency, has authority to bar the import of foreign-built products that are deemed to infringe U.S. patents.
ASUS was not immediately available for comment.
The ASUS PC Eee utilizes a Linux operating system and ASUS has said it wants to offer an Eee model with a stripped-down version of Microsoft's XP operating system. ASUS also builds computer products for other firms.