Analog Devices Initiates Patent and Copyright Infringement Lawsuit against Silicon Labs

December 28, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Analog Devices, Inc. announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Silicon Laboratories Inc.

The complaint alleges that Silicon Labs' Si84xx family of products infringe multiple U.S. patents addressing physical construction and signaling techniques related to ADI's iCoupler® digital isolation products, and that SiLabs datasheets infringe the copyright on ADI datasheets for the iCoupler products. The complaint seeks unspecified damages and a court-ordered injunction against future infringement by Silicon Labs. In addition to its U.S. patents, Analog Devices has corresponding patent applications related to its digital isolation products pending in several countries.

Analog Devices' iCoupler digital isolators enable communication between separate electrical circuits while preventing current flow between them. Such products are used in applications where excessive current flow could harm equipment or users or adversely affect product performance. ADI has sold more than 30 million iCoupler products to thousands of customers around the world. iCoupler digital isolation products have been designed into equipment spanning a wide variety of markets, including industrial instrumentation, power supplies, medical equipment, communication networks and flat-panel televisions.

"ADI had the vision, the engineering expertise, and the financial resources to develop a new class of isolation components and we have been awarded more than 10 patents that recognize the company's innovation in this area," said Margaret K. Seif, ADI's Vice President and General Counsel. "We started investing in this technology in 1997 and began selling products based upon it in 2001. We are taking this action today to protect our intellectual property and our investment."

As of the date of this story, Silicon Labs has not issued a press release responding to the lawsuit.