Power-One Sues Artesyn for Patent Infringement

October 02, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Power-One Inc. (Camarillo, CA) announced that it filed a lawsuit on September 30, 2005, against Artesyn Technologies Inc. (Boca Raton, FL) for infringement of United States Patent Nos. 6,936,999 and 6,949,916 held by Power-One. The suit was filed in the United States District court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

In its complaint, Power-One alleges that Artesyn is infringing the '999 and '916 patents by making, using, selling, or offering to sell its recently announced DPL20C point-of-load (POL) converter. As announced by Artesyn on September 13, 2005, the product was introduced as the first in a family of dc-dc converters which, among other features, are compliant with, and which operate under, the PMBus™ protocol. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages and a permanent injunction to prohibit Artesyn from making, selling, or offering to sell infringing products, including the DPL20C POL converter.

Power-One Corporate Executive Vice President Dave Hage said in an interview that the '999 patent "relates to upward timing data control and timing parameters out from the POL, including sequencing, termination data, slew rate, turn off, and turn on." The '916 patent relates to "using a serial bus to communicate with a POL." The PMBus is based on the SMBus communications protocol, but it was developed as a separate, "open" standard for companies developing power supplies with digital control. Hage indicated that, "Elements of the PMBus may violate Power-One’s intellectual property."

Power-One formed the Z-Alliance to license their technology, and companies have been invited to join. With more digital control products expected to be announced this fall, Hage said that these would be examined on a "case-by-case basis." According to Randall H. Holliday, Secretary and General Counsel of Power-One, "Power-One has invested heavily in Z-One product research and development, and has created significant intellectual property in the process. In addition to the two issued US patents in the lawsuit, we have another five issued US patents and 17 US patent applications pending which cover our Z-One technology. This total Z-One patent portfolio currently includes over 280 patent claims." Power-One plans on defending its IP "aggressively," according to Hage.

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