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ITC judge upholds SigmaTel's MP3 chip patents

Posted: 23 Mar 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Junko Yoshida? SigmaTel? Actions Semiconductor? International Trade Commission? patents?

SigmaTel Inc. said that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that Actions Semiconductor Co. infringed two SigmaTel patents.

According to the company, ITC Administrative Law Judge Paul Luckern also recommended that an exclusion order be issued. Actions has denied infringing SigmaTel's patents and argued they are invalid. Luckern's ruling must still be reviewed by the full commission. For now, the ITC released only a summary of the determination, SigmaTel said.

The ITC judge concluded that SigmaTel's 6,633,187 and 6,366,522 patents were valid and infringed. The ruling also included a recommendation that the ITC issue an order barring any MP3 players based on infringing Actions chips, containing 2Gb or less of flash memory, from being imported into the United States.

Through its early entry into the MP3 player market and its acquisition of Rio MP3 player technology, SigmaTel has amassed a number of patents related to system-on-chip design implementations for MP3 players.

Referring recently to the patent litigation, Phil Pompa, senior vice president of the integrated components group at SigmaTel, said, "This is neither about SigmaTel versus China, nor about the United States versus China."

China's A-Max Technology is SigmaTel's largest customer, and 95 percent of SigmaTel's business is in Asia. According to Pompa, "All we want is to protect our IP." Patent protection is a growing concern for SigmaTel as it gears up to start SoC design activities in China.

- Junko Yoshida
EE Times




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