The flash drive was invented in 1999. However, there is some dispute over who invented it. While the Israeli company M-Systems filed the first patent in April of that year, their product involved a USB cable and a memory unit, whereas Shimon Shmueli's September patent was for a USB memory stick.
Two Asian companies also laid claim to the flash drive's invention. The Singaporean company Trek Technology and the Chinese company Netac Technology both filed lawsuits to defend their alleged invention of the device. Although Trek Technology won such a lawsuit in Singapore, their patent was revoked in the United Kingdom. Officially, the patent for the flash drive belongs to IBM.