ASIC maker Canaan sues chip developer Highsharp over patent infringement

Block reward mining hardware maker Canaan (NASDAQ: CAN) has filed a lawsuit against a Chinese chip developer for alleged patent infringement. Canaan wants $14 million from China’s Shenzhen Highsharp, a company headed by one of the earliest ASIC developers in the world.

Canaan filed its lawsuit at the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court in China. It alleges that Highsharp and Sichuan Yinbimei Technology Co., Ltd ripped off its designs while making their own ASIC mining chips.

According to the China Business News, Canaan wants the court to order the two chip developers to cease the patent infringement and pay 90 million yuan ($14 million). 

Highsharp has been designing integrated circuits since 2016, led by its founder Li Chenjun. Li was one of the first to design a block reward mining ASIC chip back in 2013. Named the Clam Miner, it fizzled out as other companies produced and marketed their chips much more aggressively than Li.

Highsharp has received a new lease on life by partnering with AGM Holdings (Nasdaq: AGMH), one of the newest players in the ASIC industry. AGM, which trades on Nasdaq, has been a fintech software company for years but has recently turned to ASIC production and block reward mining.

In early October, the company announced that it had received its first significant order for its mining machines. The order was from Nowlit Solutions Corp for 30,000 units of 100 TH/s chips, bringing AGM closer to its target of $100 million of orders.

A week later, AGM announced that it had received an order for 25,000 units of its 100 TH/s ASIC from MinerVa Semiconductor Corp. MinerVa paid a $20 million deposit for the miners, with the rest being paid upon delivery. At the time, AGM’s CFO Steven Sim noted that that the purchase would increase the company’s cash flow as it targets beginning mass production in 2022.

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