The 20-year patent of the U disk expires: what will happen to this company that has been earning for 20 years in the future

On November 14, a company that relied on U disk patents to collect patent fees from the world for 20 years officially announced that the patent protection had expired.

Yes, this company is Shenzhen Netac Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Netac Technology”). You must know that before this, every U disk sold in the world had to pay Netac Technology a part of the patent fee. It can be said that It has been “laying and earning” for 20 years. With the end of the patent protection period, this also means that Netac Technology will no longer be able to rely on patents to make money.

The full name of U disk is “USB flash disk”, and it is also commonly referred to as “USB flash drive”. Its appearance can be said to facilitate everyone’s life. It integrates disk storage technology, flash memory technology and universal serial bus technology, and can realize data read and write operations with computers or other external devices. It has become the most mainstream at present. One of the removable storage devices.

U Disk Patent History

The U disk patent battle took place between 1998 and 2000, and many companies claimed that they were the owners of U disk patents.

Speaking of U disk patents, we have to mention a key figure: Deng Guoshun, founder of Netac Technology.

As early as 1985, Deng Guoshun was still a top student in the Department of Computer Science of Sun Yat-Sen University. After graduation, he entered the Beijing Computer Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and obtained a master’s degree. In 1993, Deng Guoshun went to Singapore and worked in 3 software companies successively, and later served as the system manager of Philips in the Asia-Pacific region. In the process of many business trips, Deng Guoshun found that the floppy disk he carried was often damaged and the data inside was lost, which also gave him the idea of ​​creating a product that could replace the floppy disk.

In 1999, Deng Guoshun met Cheng Xiaohua, a fellow from Hunan. When talking about storage products, the two hit it off and then jointly developed a revolutionary product “U Disk”, also known as “Flash Disk”, which replaced traditional floppy disks. . It was also in the same year that Deng Guoshun founded Netac Technology, and on November 14, he filed a patent application for a USB flash drive, the full name of which is “a method and device for fast-lightning external storage for data processing systems”.

Also in 1999 to apply for this patent, there is an Israeli manufacturer Ammon System (M-Systems), claiming to occupy more than 50% of the US market share.

On July 24, 2002, my country Intellectual Property Office granted Netac Technology these invention patents, which is the first time that Netac Technology has been officially recognized as the owner of U disk patents in China.

It was not until December 7, 2004 that the U.S. Patent Office officially granted Netac Technology the U-disk invention patent, and the U-disk competition officially ended.

After 20 years of lying and earning, how will Netac’s future go?

In the “Indicative Announcement on the Expiration of the Company’s Core Basic Invention Patent Rights” published by Netac Technology on the 14th, it is mentioned:

The core basic invention patent of Shenzhen Netac Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as the “company”) is “a method and device for fast lightning external storage for data processing systems” (Patent No.: ZL99117225.6, hereinafter referred to as “99 Patent” ”) was filed on 14 November 1999. According to Article 42 of the “Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China”, “the term of an invention patent right is twenty years, and the term of a utility model patent right and a design patent right is ten years, both calculated from the date of application”, The expiration date of the patent right of the company’s 99 patent is November 14, 2019.

This means that the U disk patent, which has brought Netac Technology 20 years of profit, will expire immediately. At the same time, in the announcement, Netac Technology also admitted that the expiration of the patent will have a certain adverse impact on the company’s future operating profits. Even Netac Technology does not know what effective measures to take to fundamentally solve the risks to the company’s operations after the patent expires.

Seeing this, I can’t help but feel a little emotional. It is rare to have a domestic patent that can conquer the world. Now the patent owner is facing the problem of follow-up revenue, which is really embarrassing.

Of course, Netac Technology also stated in the announcement that although the patent protection period has expired, this does not affect the patent infringement lawsuits that occurred before November 14, 2019. Netac Technology will also realize the sustainable development of intellectual property operation business by means of patent authorization, patent potential development, and introduction of patents.


Today, although U disk is still a relatively popular product, it is more reflected in its convenience and portability. With the emergence of new generation storage methods such as large-capacity hard disks and cloud storage, the importance of U disk is also It’s not as important as it used to be.

As a company that has received 20 years of “protection fees” from all over the world by relying on a patent, Netac Technology has been successful in this aspect, but in the follow-up, it has relied too much on “laying and earning”, which has reduced the research and development of new technologies. This also warns all technology-based companies in the world that only continuous innovation and technological breakthroughs are the driving force behind the company.

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