Power Electronics

Firms in Lawsuit Respond to Ruling

Power Integrations has announced that a jury has upheld the validity of all four patents asserted by the company in its patent-infringement lawsuit against Fairchild Semiconductor. In October 2006, a separate jury found that Fairchild willfully infringed the four patents, and awarded Power Integrations damages of approximately $34 million.

"We expect our competitors to respect our intellectual property, and we are committed to combating any unlawful infringement that harms our business," said Balu Balakrishnan, president and CEO of Power Integrations. "These two verdicts against Fairchild reaffirm the value of independent invention and creativity in our industry."

Fairchild said this most recent verdict finding in this lawsuit (Fairchild is suing Power Integrations for patent infringement in a separate lawsuit) was incorrect and disappointing, and said it was planning to contest those findings and several other errors Fairchild says have been made during the litigation that began in 2004. Fairchild will begin this process soon, with a series of motions it expects to file in coming days and weeks and, if necessary, on appeal.

Meanwhile, the enforceability phase of the litigation is continuing. Power Integrations will now request a permanent injunction against the continued manufacture, importation and sale of the infringing Fairchild parts.

Power Integrations will also ask that the injunction extend to parts that are not materially different from the listed parts. However, Fairchild has already released a new generation of pulse-width modulation (PWM) controllers and related products that replace the products that are accused in the lawsuit.

Fairchild also maintains that one aspect of an earlier verdict, which found Fairchild had willfully infringed the Power Integrations patents, should be dismissed or put to a new trial because of a higher-court ruling on August 20th that overturned a quarter-century of precedent related to willful patent infringement. Additionally, the Fairchild said it would request a reduction in the level of damages awarded in an earlier round of the litigation because of errors in the way damages were calculated.

Furthermore, Fairchild said it would contest several decisions made by the court over the course of the three-year-old dispute, including the division of the trial into several phases, rulings construing the claims of the patents involved, and limitations on the evidence Fairchild was permitted to present.

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