NEW YORK--U.S. Philips Corp. today announced it has filed patent infringement suits against eight more companies accused of violating its technology rights in I2C bus interconnects on semiconductors. The latest round of suits follows similar cases filed against six U.S. chip makers one year ago.
The U.S. subsidiary of Royal Philips Electronics NV said new cases were filed against five U.S. semiconductor suppliers and three systems companies, based in Taiwan.
The five U.S. chip makers are accused of producing ICs that infringe upon Philips' Inter-Integrated Circuit Bus (I2C). They are Atmel, LSI Logic, Maxim (along with Dallas Semiconductor, which has been acquired by Maxim), and Semtech. Suits have also been filed against Abit Computer, Asutek Computer, and Micro-star International, all based in Taiwan. They are accused of importing motherboards and computers containing ICs that infringe upon Philips' I2C bus patent.
The suits claim that the eight companies are violating Philips' U.S. patent No. 4,689,740, which the company said is directly related to the IC2 bus design. Originally developed in the 1970s, the I2C bus is a serial data path used to interconnect semiconductors on circuit boards in a range of consumer and other system products.
Last October, Philips announced it had filed similar patent suits in New York against Analog Devices, Cirrus Logic, Cypress, Fairchild, Linear Technology, and Standard Microsystems (see Oct. 2, 2000, story). Earlier this year, Philips said it had settled its cases with Linear Technology Corp. of Milpitas, Calif., and Cirrus Logic Inc. of Austin, Tex., after new licensing agreements were reached.
The pending cases filed last year are expected to go to trial in the middle of 2002, said Philips.