SynQor Patent Dispute Now Involves Cisco, Ericsson, and Vicor

January 30, 2011 by Jeff Shepard

SynQor filed suit against Ericsson, Vicor, and Cisco on January 28th, 2011 for patent infringement related to the case recently decided in SynQor’s favor (SynQor vs. Artesyn Technologies Inc. et al). The latest SynQor legal action claims that "Ericsson and Vicor infringe the patents at issue in this action when they make, import, use, promote, offer to sell, and/or sell within the United States products including, but not limited to, unregulated and/or semi-regulated bus converters and/or POLs used in intermediate bus architecture power supply systems." The suit contends that Cisco, as a primary customer of Ericsson and Vicor, also infringes the patents at issue.

The SynQor action capped a busy week of legal challenges related to SynQor’s initial victory in the patent case. On January 24th, a Texas court ruled in favor of SynQor in its request for an immediate injunction against the eleven companies who had been found legally liable for infringing the patents at issue. Importantly, during its request for the injunction, SynQor had identified Cisco (not one of the initial defendants) as the primary customer of the infringing products, and then asked the court to require Cisco to outline the safeguards it would institute in order to avoid infringement themselves.

Almost immediately, a judge in New York provided the original defendants a respite when he put the injunction "on hold." Then, on January 25th, Lineage Power (one of the original defendants) announced the release of a series of bus converter modules which the company said can be used as "drop-in upgrades for unregulated and semi-regulated bus converters challenged by recent industry-wide intellectual property issues." (emphasis ours). Lineage also noted that it would be attaching a statement to its products that had been affected by the injunction which made it clear that they were not intended for sale or use in, or importation into, the United States.

Cisco filed suit against SynQor in Delaware on January 26th, stating that Cisco had "a reasonable apprehension that SynQor will assert against it (Cisco) a claim that the systems or services supplied by Cisco infringe the Patents-in-Suit." Cisco also noted that in the original suit filed by SynQor against eleven of Cisco’s suppliers, SynQor had described these companies as the "indirect infringers," while Cisco and other customers were described as the "direct infringers." In its suit, Cisco claims that each of the patents in question is "invalid" and that each of them "is the subject of a pending inter partes reexamination."

The Cisco suit against SynQor was filed only hours after a similar suit had been filed by Vicor in Massachusetts. Vicor issued the following comment regarding their suit to PowerPulse:

"Vicor Bus Converters, utilizing Vicor’s own proprietary Sine Amplitude Converter™ technology, are fundamentally different from, and technologically superior to, bus converters made by SynQor Inc.. The limitations of claims asserted by SynQor do not apply to Vicor Bus Converters and Vicor is unaffected by a U.S. District Court injunction against manufacturers of bus converters that were found to infringe SynQor patents.

"Vicor has developed higher efficiency, pin-compatible upgrades for 5:1 and 4:1 eighth-bricks and quarter-bricks bus converters. These custom products, engineered at the request of certain customers, will soon be made available as standard products to address the needs of other customers suffering from industry-wide shortages caused by the injunction."