Power-One & Texas Instruments Announce Patent License Agreement For Digital Power Technology

June 22, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

Power-One, Inc. has entered into a non-exclusive Field of Use agreement to license its digital power technology patents to Texas Instruments (TI). The non-exclusive license agreement provides access to Power-One’s portfolio of digital power technology patents for incorporation in TI’s dc-dc controllers and modules, but does not extend to merchant stand-alone power supplies that use TI controllers.

TI states that the agreement expands the market for its analog and digital power management products that support the PMBus™ protocol. The company states that the agreement for Power-One’s digital power technology patents will benefit original equipment manufacturers (OEM) who use TI’s point-of-load (POL) controllers.

TI offers several power management controllers that support PMBus, an open standard digital power communications interface that allows the configuring, control and monitoring of power systems. For example, the four-output, multi-phase UCD9240 and dual-output UCD9220 power system controllers are fully configurable via an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) for monitoring, control and management for dc-dc point-of-load power conversion.

The PMBus standard specification, developed by a consortium of 40 power supply, telecommunications equipment and semiconductor providers, defines a digital communication protocol that enables power converters to be configured, monitored and maintained according to a set of more than 100 commands. PMBus provides increased reliability and system intelligence. Designers can set a power supply’s operating parameters, monitor operation and perform corrective measures in response to faults or if the power shuts a system down.

The significance of this agreement is that OEM customers who had refrained from utilizing the PMBus for digital power management (for fear of possible litigation hassles and costs) can now integrate the PMBus into their POL designs without such worries.

"Texas Instruments is a leader in semiconductor solutions for analog and digital embedded applications processing and Power-One is pleased to license its digital power technology patents for incorporation into their products," said Richard Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Power-One. "This license further reflects Power-One’s goal of partnering with global leaders to expand access to analog and digital power management products with the PMBus™ protocol."