• Kyodo

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Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday it has resumed blocking Western Digital Corp.’s access to the databases of their joint chip venture after a U.S. appellate court allowed the action in a temporary order.

The decision by the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco came after the San Francisco County Superior Court ordered Toshiba last week to stop blocking Western Digital’s access to chip development data, which the Japanese firm started in June. Toshiba appealed the superior court decision.

Reeling from massive losses linked to its now-bankrupt U.S. nuclear subsidiary, Toshiba is aiming to quickly sell the chip unit, Toshiba Memory Corp., to raise cash and avoid a stock market delisting.

Western Digital, which has jointly invested in Toshiba’s flash memory operations in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, says a sale of the unit without its consent would violate the joint venture contract.

“This particular ruling allows TMC to reaffirm its commitment to protecting its intellectual property and prevent Western Digital employees from accessing confidential information stored in its databases, an action Toshiba has already implemented,” Toshiba said in a statement released Wednesday.

The U.S. appellate court said Western Digital has until Tuesday to file its opposition.

The escalating legal dispute continues to complicate the sale of the unit.

On Friday, the Superior Court of California held off from making a decision on whether to grant Western Digital an injunction blocking Toshiba from selling the chip unit.

The U.S. court set another hearing for July 28 and stipulated that Toshiba must notify its joint venture partner two weeks before closing a sale of its flash memory business.

Western Digital is also seeking arbitration with an international court to prevent the sale of the chip unit. The move to file for an injunction in the U.S. court was intended to halt the sale process until the international court reaches its decision.

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