• Kyodo

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The U.S. International Trade Commission said Tuesday it will investigate whether Hitachi Ltd. and three other makers violated patents for semiconductor memory devices made by Mosel Vitelic Corp. of Taiwan.

The commission said it is launching the probe based on a petition filed by Mosel, a maker of dynamic random access memory microchips.

The probe will cover memory devices sold in the United States by Hitachi, Hitachi Semiconductor (America) Inc., Elpida Memory Inc. and Elpida Memory (USA) Inc.

Elpida Memory is a Tokyo-based joint venture involving Hitachi and NEC Corp., another semiconductor manufacturer.

If the investigation confirms that unlicensed sales took place in violation of the U.S. Tariff Act, the Japanese companies and their U.S. units may be ordered to halt imports and sales of their products.

A Hitachi spokesman confirmed that Mosel had filed the petition against the company, but declined further comment.

Broadband tieup eyed

NEC Corp. said Wednesday it is aiming to work with other major operators to establish a megaconsortium in broadband communications services as part of its strategy for the 2002 business year.

The envisioned alliance based on high-speed fiber-optic communication networks would establish a common service base for partner companies, allowing them to concentrate on providing their own service contents, NEC said.

They would provide on-demand communication services similar to those currently on offer by national TV stations, according to NEC.

The goal is “to establish broadband networks as part of the social infrastructure,” the company said.

NEC is already in talks with a number of candidates for the alliance and will announce more details by summer, it said, adding it will also expand its Internet protocol telephony service.

At present, NEC’s Internet-based phone service is only available to users with personal computers. The company said it wants to make it accessible for ordinary phones as well.

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