Power Integrations vs. Fairchild in Patent Suit: Everyone a Winner?
Power Integrations announced a verdict reached in the company’s 2008 patent-infringement lawsuit against Fairchild Semiconductor. According to Power Integrations, after a three-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, a jury found that Fairchild infringes two Power Integrations patents. The infringement findings cover approximately 75 Fairchild products, including the following products and those with substantially identical infringing circuitry:
The jury is also said to have upheld the validity of the infringed patents, and further found that Fairchild has induced others to infringe Power Integrations’ patents. Power Integrations will seek an injunction preventing further infringement and is seeking financial damages, as well as enhanced damages for willful infringement, issues that are to be decided in a separate trial to be held at a later date.
Of the two counterclaim patents asserted in the case by Fairchild, one was found by the jury not to be infringed. The jury found the second Fairchild patent to be infringed by a limited number of Power Integrations products, but further found that Power Integrations did not induce infringement by any customers, including customers outside the United States, who are therefore unaffected by the verdict. Power Integrations is challenging the enforceability of the Fairchild patent, an issue still to be decided by the judge overseeing the case. Nevertheless, Power Integrations estimates that even if the verdict were ultimately upheld, the sales potentially impacted amount to only about 0.1% of the company’s revenues.
The latest verdict follows rulings in two earlier cases brought by Power Integrations against Fairchild and its System General subsidiary. In 2006, Fairchild was found to infringe four Power Integrations patents, including the same two patents found infringed today. The Court issued a permanent injunction against more than 100 infringing Fairchild products in that case, and later found the infringement to be willful, resulting in enhancement of the damage award, which currently stands at $12 million. The results of that case are currently under appeal.
Fairchild counterclaims that a jury found that Power Integrations infringes a Fairchild U.S. patent covering primary side regulation. Power Integrations products found to infringe include certain LinkSwitch II and LinkSwitch-CV products, including the LNK603-606/613-616, SC1092, SC1097-99, SC1103, LNK632DG and LNK623-626. The same jury is also said to have found all asserted Fairchild patents valid.
Fairchild says that, in the same case, the jury found that Fairchild did not infringe two of four U.S. patents asserted by Power Integrations. Fairchild was found to infringe two other Power Integrations U.S. patents. Fairchild products found to infringe include certain PWM controller products.
Fairchild and Power Integrations are involved in three other patent lawsuits.