Who Invented the Computer Jump Drive

Wondering who invented the computer jump drive? In just a short span of time, these drives have become indispensable. Companies can even produce custom jump drives with logos on them, making them perfect for key chains, or they can provide secure jump drives that protect valuable data. The technology that led to the creation of these ubiquitous USB drives is the result of contributions from many people.

The inventor of the first thumb drive is Dov Moran.
In 1998, Dov Moran was working on a USB interface called NAND, which was integral to the development of the thumb drive. M-Systems, the company Moran worked for, manufactured the first flash drive in Europe, which they called Disgo. Disgo wasn't quite the USB drive we know in its current incarnation, though; the credit for that goes elsewhere. M-Systems created the patent that describes USB drives and their implementation.

Pua Khein Seng is instrumental in the development of the thumb drive.
In 2000, Pua Khein Seng, a Malaysian who went to Taiwan to study Electrical Control Engineering, collaborated with four other engineers to set up a company. This company went on to create the thumb drive as we know it today. Seng and his cohorts were the brains behind developing the USB System on Chip, or SoC, which makes it possible for USB drives to work so quickly and efficiently using modern USB protocols. Without the SoC, jump drives wouldn't be possible.

Seng takes his idea to Toshiba.
Five engineers didn't necessarily have the business clout to launch thumb drives worldwide, so Seng took his idea to electronics giant Toshiba. While Toshiba didn't own the thumb drive outright, it was the largest shareholder in the group of investors who supported the device's development. Toshiba was also the largest customer for thumb drives, making it a good business decision and ultimately making it possible for thumb drives to gain international exposure and acclaim.

Trek Technology held a patent for the thumb drive.
This is where things get confusing. While Seng was developing the USB thumb drive, Trek Technology was developing its own version of a portable storage device. In 2002, Trek Technology filed a patent on a thumb drive that is similar to USB drives you'd see today. However, when Trek started suing other companies for violation of its patent, courts found that the patent was too general and described a broad storage protocol-not specifically USB thumb drives. Ultimately, Trek was unable to defend its patent and merely goes down as a player in the thumb drive's development.

Netac claims a share in USB development, too.
While Trek and M-Systems were developing jump drives, a company called Netac was also working on a similar device. Like Trek, Netac has filed patents protecting USB drives. Also like Trek, the patents were found to be too general and descriptive of a broad base of technology; they were not specific enough to describe USB thumb drives in particular.

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