SAN FRANCISO A U.S. District Court of Appeals has affirmed a ruling invalidating a patent held by Linear Technology Corp., according to a statement issued Thursday (Aug. 28) by Advanced Analogic Technologies Inc. (AnalogicTech), a provider of power management ICs for mobile consumer devices.
In its ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a prior determination by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that a patent related to charge pump products (U.S. patent No. 6,411,531) is invalid over prior art, according to AnalogicTech.
In a separate statement, Linear (Milpitas, Calif.) noted that the Court of Appeals ruling does not pertain to a second patent held by Linear, which Linear has asserted is violated by certain AnalogicTech products.
An ITC administrative law judge previously ruled that the second Linear patent (U.S. patent No. 6,580,258) is valid and infringed by certain AnalogicTech products, Linear said. The ITC judge ordered those products excluded from importation into the U.S., the company said.
John England, corporate and intellectual property counsel for Linear, said the company was disappointed by the Court of Appeals ruling. But he said the company awaits the Court of Appeals ruling on the second patent.
"Should the court agree with Linear, we believe it will enhance other related exclusionary proceedings brought by Linear" against AnalogicTech that are currently pending at the ITC, England said.
A lawsuit brought by AnalogicTech against Linear in U.S. Federal Court for business interference, trade libel, patent misuse, and unfair business
practices is currently stayed. AnalogicTech said it believes its position in the federal case, which involves the same patent is enhanced by the Court of Appeals' ruling.
Last year the ITC issued a determination that AnalogicTech's power management ICscharge pumps and switching regulators widely used in mobile devicesdo not violate patents held by Linear. Charge pump devices are widely used in white LED backlight drivers.
"The affirmation of patent invalidity combined with the earlier holdings of non-infringement and lack of domestic industry vindicates our long-held belief that our products do not infringe these intellectual property rights of Linear Technology," said Richard Williams, president, chief technology officer and CEO of AnalogicTech(Sunnyvale, Calif.).