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Apple Files Dynamic Cell Memory Patent

By - Source: USPTO | B 31 comments

Apple filed a patent application that describes an approach to dynamically adjust the number of bits stored in a non-volatile NAND flash memory cell.

According to Apple, single-level cell (SLC) as well as multi-level cell (MLC) programming operations could be used to be able to allocate a different number of bits to cells.

The purpose of the invention is to enable a system to balance its mass storage for performance, reliability and storage capacity needs. Apple says that the technology would allow for a portion of a flash memory chip to be used as CLC and another as MLC chip. SLC flash memory tends to provide greater reliability and performance, while MLC offers greater capacity.

From the patent: "The host can further determine whether to access the memory location as a single-level cell location or multi-level cell location. For example, the host can make this determination based on the desired storage reliability, storage performance, or storage speed. Thus, the host can use any suitable number of bits per cell when accessing the memory location regardless or independently of the number of bits per cell previously used for the same memory location. In other words, after each erase cycle on the memory location, the host can newly assign the memory location as an SLC or MLC memory location based on current needs or preferences."

The patent was already filed by Apple on February 25, 2010, but only recently released by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The idea is not entirely new and closely resembles a paper presented by Samsung at the 2009 Usenix conference. Back then, Samsung engineers described their FlexFS as a flexible flash file system for MLC NAND flash memory, which would "takes advantage of the dynamic reconfiguration utility of MLC flash memory". As Apple's idea, FlexFS divides MLC flash memory into SLC and MLC regions -- and is able to change the size of those regions to adjust for different requirements over time.

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  • 23 Hide
    mcd023 , August 31, 2011 2:15 AM
    so Samsung does the research and Apple patents? ouch.
  • 15 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , August 31, 2011 3:22 AM
    apple can go to hell
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    mcd023 , August 31, 2011 2:15 AM
    so Samsung does the research and Apple patents? ouch.
  • 8 Hide
    deadlockedworld , August 31, 2011 2:17 AM
    Apple v. Samsung lawsuit round II.
  • 7 Hide
    legacy7955 , August 31, 2011 2:21 AM
    Tom's has used the word "patent" so many times the NSA Echelon project is going to start a corporate espionage campaign against them!
  • 5 Hide
    AbdullahG , August 31, 2011 2:29 AM
    So...many...PATENTS!
  • 6 Hide
    nukemaster , August 31, 2011 3:05 AM
    This is nothing. Apple patented the Wiimote as well. Its funny....

  • 15 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , August 31, 2011 3:22 AM
    apple can go to hell
  • -1 Hide
    acadia11 , August 31, 2011 3:26 AM
    Steve, Steve, when they open the good book are you going to be straightened out?
  • 7 Hide
    spentshells , August 31, 2011 3:52 AM
    I have patented the word patent as the patent on this word in reference to suing someone over something you have created or own the rights to has expired Apple google and Microsoft will now owe me 10% of all settlements involving the word patent and all further lawsuits filed using said word are now deferred until further notice.
  • 1 Hide
    Blessedman , August 31, 2011 4:08 AM
    This sounds like the realm of rambus, what out apple you may have met your match!
  • 2 Hide
    legacy7955 , August 31, 2011 4:13 AM
    spentshellsI have patented the word patent as the patent on this word in reference to suing someone over something you have created or own the rights to has expired Apple google and Microsoft will now owe me 10% of all settlements involving the word patent and all further lawsuits filed using said word are now deferred until further notice.


    LMAO!!!!!!!!!!! This quote should be framed and put on the wall at Apple HQ.
  • 3 Hide
    chickenhoagie , August 31, 2011 4:30 AM
    I remember my first patent. Along with my first beer..

    Actually no, that whole night was a blur..
  • 1 Hide
    RazorBurn , August 31, 2011 5:01 AM
    I patented the process of ventilation consists of two phases, inspiration and expiration. During inspiration the diaphragm and the external intercostal muscles contract. The diaphragm moves downward increasing the volume of the thoracic (chest) cavity, and the external intercostal muscles pull the ribs up and outward, expanding the rib cage, further increasing this chest volume. or commonly called "Breathing"..

    All Humans should pay me the royalty fee of 1 cent per inhale and exhale..
  • 5 Hide
    doron , August 31, 2011 5:45 AM
    someone delete jrabbit2 horrible post.
  • -9 Hide
    back_by_demand , August 31, 2011 6:09 AM
    doronsomeone delete jrabbit2 horrible post.

    Why? He has irritated the whole human race so much maybe he should.
    To make matters worse when he does finally go they will sue the estate of Patrick Swayze because Steve Jobs patented dying from Pancreatic Cancer.
  • 2 Hide
    gmp23 , August 31, 2011 6:28 AM
    This patent war has officially entered into the realm of absurdity. Clearly i'm in the wrong business. Whoever works at the patent office is swimming in money right now. I think it's time I re-evaluate my career path.
  • 3 Hide
    martel80 , August 31, 2011 8:12 AM
    Would not Samsung's paper be the evidence of prior art and thus invalidate the patent when presented in the court?
  • 2 Hide
    saturnus , August 31, 2011 10:54 AM
    I'm almost completely sure SanDisk/Tobisha patented this in 1989 when they developed and patented the MLC NAND technology, as a development on the previous Tobisha patent on SLC NAND technology.
  • 1 Hide
    zybch , August 31, 2011 11:34 AM
    martel80Would not Samsung's paper be the evidence of prior art and thus invalidate the patent when presented in the court?

    One would hope so, but the US patent office have a pretty bad record regarding something like this that seems blindingly obvious to you and me.
  • 3 Hide
    reggieray , August 31, 2011 12:36 PM
    And they (government) wonder why there are hardly ever any new startup companies. They are either bought out or crushed to death by lawsuits from the established companies.
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