SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has confirmed a patent owned by Microtune Inc. covering the company's silicon TV tuner architecture following reexamination, Microtune said Monday (Dec. 11).
Reexamination of the patent, originally issued in 1998, had been requested by Broadcom Corp., Microtune (Plano, Texas) said. The patent had been involved in a patent litigation between the two companies which was settled in 2004. At that time, Microtune and
Broadcom (Irvine, Calif.) entered into a cross-licensing agreement.
"Our patent was challenged twice and we were successful both times, once in court and now in a PTO reexamination," said James Fontaine, Microtune president and CEO, in a statement. "This process has only reinforced our intellectual property position."
The patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,737,035, was originally issued in 1998 with 128 claims. Thirty-six additional claims were added by Microtune during the reexamination, the company said. Under an official reexamination certificate issued by the PTO, the patent now contains 163 claims (one original claim was cancelled), according to Microtune.
The '035 patent covers the development of an integrated silicon TV tuner, the technological foundation for the company's MicroTuner line of TV tuner chips, which was first introduced in 1999, according to Microtune. The company claims that its RF integrated circuit technology pioneered the miniaturization of TV tuners, spurring the development of smaller, portable and converged TV electronics, including multi-functional set-top boxes and mobile TV phones.
According to Fontaine, Microtune holds 66 U.S. patents and has more than 40 other patents pending. The company last month introduced its latest tuner, said to provide superior analog/digital TV performance for PC notebooks, USB tuner sticks, portable TVs, DVD players and other power-sensitive devices.