Fairchild Semiconductor-Power Integrations Trial Delayed Due to Pending U.S. Supreme Court Case

December 03, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

The second jury trial between Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. and Power Integrations Inc. patent-infringement case, schedule for December 4, 2006, has been delayed by order of the Delaware U.S. District Court. The date for the trial has been moved to May 7, 2007.

In October, 2006, a jury found that Fairchild willfully infringed four Power Integrations patents by virtue of its sales of "Green FPS" PWM controller products, and awarded damages of approximately $34 million. As a defense to infringement, Fairchild has alleged that the patents are invalid, and that issue remains to be addressed in a second trial.

Specifically, Fairchild has asserted that Power Integrations' patent claims were "obvious'' in view of prior art references. On November 28, 2006, the United States Supreme Court heard argument in the matter of KSR International Co. v. Teleflex, Inc. et al. The central issue in the KSR case is the proper legal standard to be applied by the courts to assess obviousness of inventions under the patent laws. In light of this potentially precedent-setting case, the district court has postponed the trial pending the outcome of the KSR case.

Power Integrations believes the patents and patent claims at issue in the Fairchild case are valid over the prior art raised by Fairchild and that any potential change in the standard resulting from the Supreme Court case is not likely to affect the outcome in this case.

"Although we will be delayed in upholding the validity of our patents, we are confident that we will receive a favorable resolution when we go to trial on May 7, 2007, and receive a permanent injunction preventing further infringement by Fairchild," said Balu Balakrishnan, President and CEO of Power Integrations. "We expect the validity of our patents to be upheld."

Upon confirmation of the validity of its patents, Power Integrations intends to seek an injunction against the continued manufacture, importation and sale of all infringing Fairchild parts. The company also intends to seek enhancement of the initial damage award based on the jury's finding of willful infringement.