SAN JOSE, Calif. - M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc. has acquired Optomai Inc., a fabless semiconductor company that develops integrated circuits and modules for next-generation 40- and 100-Gbps fiber optic networks.
Based in Silicon Valley, Calif., Optomai’s product portfolio in GaAs and InP circuit design complements M/A-COM Tech’s existing CATV/broadcast and point-to-point/infrastructure businesses. Optomai is a provider of high-speed optoelectronic ICs such as laser modulator drivers and transimpedance amplifiers (TIA).
M/A-COM is a supplier of high performance semiconductors, active and passive components, and subassemblies for use in radio frequency (RF), microwave, and millimeter-wave applications.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Before that deal was announced, GigOptix Inc., a supplier of high performance electronic and electro-optic components that enable next generation 40- and 100-G optical networks, has filed a lawsuit against Optomai and five former GigOptix employees in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
GigOptix alleges in the lawsuit that the former employees violated confidentiality agreements with GigOptix ''by retaining and misusing confidential and proprietary GigOptix information to launch a competing company.''
According to allegations in the lawsuit, the former employees created Optomai Inc. in 2009 and have begun selling products that directly compete with GigOptix’s products. ''GigOptix further alleges that Optomai used GigOptix technology and intellectual property to develop its products in violation of California law and that it is now selling its products as the 'Optomai Optoelectronics' product line of MA-COM.''
GigOptix is seeking damages and injunctive relief.
In a statement, GigOptix’s Chairman and Chief Executive Avi Katz, stated, “GigOptix is committed to zealously protecting its intellectual property. We will take every step necessary to protect the technology we have developed and to ensure that our rights, the value we have created for our shareholders and business success are not compromised.”
Late Tuesday (April 26), GigOptix announced that it amended its recently filed lawsuit against Optomai, to name M/A-COM Technology as an additional defendant. GigOptix alleges that, by acquiring Optomai and by selling Optomai’s products, M/A-COM has improperly accessed and used GigOptix’s proprietary information. As is the case with the other defendants, GigOptix seeks damages and injunctive relief in connection with its claims against M/A-COM.
Somewhat odd that M/A-Com would buy a company in the midst of IP litigation. It could be that they were far along in the acquisition process and took it to its conclusion; it could be that their due diligence revealed Optomai’s IP as original and robust and there is no merit to GigOptix’s claims. They may also have some wording in the Sale Agreement that allows them to pull out or get some form of financial discount, if proved that Optomai did violate some other company’s IP.
Either way, the burden will be on Optomai’s employees to prove they haven't infringed, since they came out of Gigoptix and started a company that makes similar products.
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