SynQor IBA Patent now Invalid Reversing earlier Decision

March 16, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

In the latest twist in a long-running legal battle, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., on March 13, 2015, issued a unanimous ruling invalidating key claims of a power converter patent asserted by SynQor Inc. against Vicor Corporation and Cisco Systems, Inc. in litigation currently pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Reversing a decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Federal Circuit agreed with Vicor that prior art anticipated certain claims of SynQor's 7,072,190 patent and ordered the USPTO to reconsider the obviousness of the remaining claims.

Commenting on the decision, Dr. Patrizio Vinciarelli, Vicor's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "The Federal Circuit decision turns the tables on SynQor, which resorted to attacking competitors and customers with bogus intellectual property after failing in the marketplace with its inferior bus converters. As a company founded on innovation, Vicor respects legitimate IP interests of others. However, Vicor will confront abusive IP litigation where, as here, illegitimate claims are asserted to suppress competition from superior products known not to infringe."

In the course of its discovery of SynQor, Vicor uncovered evidence that the founder of SynQor, Dr. Martin F. Schlecht, while a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology years before applying for patents assigned to SynQor, had directed research sponsored by the General Electric Company in bus converter technology pioneered by Dr. Robert L. Steigerwald at GE. Remarkably, the Federal Circuit concluded that Dr. Schlecht's alleged invention was anticipated by the combination of two earlier patents held by Dr. Steigerwald.

Vicor has asserted counterclaims against SynQor. In its counterclaims, Vicor seeks damages for unfair and deceptive trade practices and tortious interference engaged in by SynQor as part of its campaign to discourage customers from using Vicor's superior products so as to monopolize the bus converter market. Vicor will hold SynQor, and its principals, accountable for damages they have intentionally caused.

Dr. Vinciarelli added, "Steigerwald's pioneering work, known to Schlecht from his days at MIT, and other prior art, render SynQor's monopolistic claims to bus converters and IBA clearly invalid. SynQor's threats of litigation against industry competitors and customers are the acts of a company whose portfolio of bogus patents is finally crumbling."