SAN FRANCISCO—Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. said Friday (April 27) that a federal jury found that Power Integrations Inc. infringes a U.S patent held by Fairchild and found that Fairchild infringes two patents held by Power Integrations.
The jury in the U.S. District Court in Delaware found that Power Integrations products, including some LinkSwitch II and LinkSwitch-CV products, infringe the patent, U.S. No. 7,259,972, according to Fairchild. The same jury also found all asserted Fairchild patents valid, Fairchild said.
But the jury also found that some of Fairchild's pulse width modulation (PWM) controllers infringe on two patents held by Power Integrations. The jury found that Fairchild did not infringe on two other patents Power Integrations had asserted against the company, Fairchild said.
In a statement of its own issued late Friday, Power Integrations said the infringement findings cover approximately 75 Fairchild products.
But Fairchild said it has already introduced next-generation, replacement PWM controllers and that the company would be contacting customers about which products are affected by this lawsuit.
The verdict concluded the first phase of trial in the litigation which began in 2008, Fairchild said. Willfulness and damages in the case will be determined in a second phase, which has yet to be scheduled and may occur after appeals of the first phase, the company said.
"I am delighted and gratified that the jury has affirmed the validity of our patents," said Tom Yang, senior vice president of technology for Fairchild’s Power Conversion, Industrial and Automotive products division, in a statement. Yang is the sole inventor of the patent found to be infringed.
Fairchild and Power Integrations are involved in three other patent lawsuits. Fairchild said it is asserting patent infringement claims against Power Integrations in Suzhou, China. The companies currently await a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in their appeal of a 2004 lawsuit and the companies are also asserting patent infringement claims against each other in a case scheduled to be tried next year in federal court in San Francisco, Fairchild said.
"We are gratified that the legal system has once again helped us protect our innovations, and we hope this decision will put a stop to Fairchild’s repeated violations of our intellectual property," said Balu Balakrishnan, president and CEO of Power Integrations, in a statement.
Technology is progressing so fast today that anything that is revolutionary would be copied and cloned extremely quickly. In order to protect one's innovation, one has to quickly apply for patents and copyrights so that the profits that can be earned are not stolen by other companies that might copy your products. However, sometimes it is hard to know if what you created might be totally original, like what the two companies in this article are facing. That leaves to their lawyer to fight out in court.
Simon - http://www.starrausten.com
The digital power management is an attractive market with the growth of mobiles, tablets, smart TV's, etc. I am not surprised to see companies fight tooth and nail on claims in their PWM controller patents.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.