ITC Judge Finds 25 Additional Patent Violations of Linear Technology Burst Mode Invention by Advanced Analogic Technologies

March 24, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Linear Technology Corp. announced that on March 18, Administrative Law Judge Carl Charneski of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued an enforcement initial determination (ID) finding that 25 additional Advanced Analogic Technologies Inc. voltage regulator products infringe Linear’s U.S. Patent No. 6,580, 258 (’258 patent) and therefore AATI has violated a previous exclusion order issued by the ITC. This patent protects Linear’s "sleep mode" invention, comprising circuitry that significantly extends battery life in a range of portable electronic devices such as laptop computers, cell phones and PDAs by allowing the device to "sleep" when little current is needed.

The ITC and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had ruled in 2007 that AATI violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act by importing voltage regulator chips into the United States that infringe claims 2, 3, and 34 of the ’258 patent. Specifically, AATI’s infringing devices included 21 products comprising the AAT1143 and AAT1146 families of circuits.

Separately, the ITC also instituted, at Linear’s request, an enforcement proceeding to determine whether AATI had violated this exclusion order. On September 9, 2009, and again on January 19, 2010, the administrative law judge presiding over the enforcement proceeding entered two consent orders forbidding AATI to import, sell for importation, or sell after importation into the U.S. an additional 56 AATI chips.

The March 18, 2010, ruling held that Advanced Analogic violated the 2007 limited exclusion order issued by the ITC with respect to an additional 25 products. Judge Charneski also rejected Advanced Analogic’s invalidity defenses and recommended that a cease and desist order be issued against AATI with respect to these products.

John England, Jr., Linear’s IP Counsel, said, "We are gratified that the ALJ has found further infringement by AATI of Linear’s Burst Mode® patent, and we await the Commission’s final order."

At press time, Advanced Analogic had not issued an official response to the latest ruling.