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TI takes Chipcon founder to court

Posted: 05 Dec 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lawsuit? court case? Chipcon founder?

Texas Instruments Inc., which acquired Norwegian mixed-signal and wireless chip company Chipcon Group ASA in January 2006 for $200 million, has taken Chipcon founder Geir Forre to court.

TI has alleged that Forre has been trying to recruit TI staff in contravention of terms and conditions laid down at the time of the Chipcon acquisition. Those terms and conditions lift in July 2008, according to sources, but Forre is alleged to have "jumped the gun."

After selling Chipcon, Forre formed Energy Micros AS, a fabless chip company with a plan to develop low-power MCUs based on "modern" architectures. At its launch in October 2007, Energy Micro did not elaborate on the technical nature of the advances it planned to use, or the architecture on which its MCUs would be based. Forre did say at that time that the plan was to recruit a startup team of 10 people and be fully operational at the beginning of January 2008.

"We are looking for both technical and commercial managers and talented analog and digital IC designers and will recruit people from relevant Norwegian and international semiconductor companies," Forre said at that time.

Agreement violation
"Texas Instruments has filed a petition for preliminary injunction on Friday, 9 November 2007, against Geir Forre in the Oslo Court of Execution and Enforcement. At this point, TI cannot discuss the details of the case beyond that Mr. Forre has started Energy Micro in the field of MCU business and had, prior to leaving TI, signed a non-compete and non-solicit agreement. Today's petition for preliminary injunction is focusing on prohibition against recruitment by Energy Micro and Geir Forre of any TI Norway and TI employees. Texas Instruments wants to make a point that Geir Forre should not be approaching TI employees before the ending date of the agreement," said Laurent Giai-Miniet, general manager, low-power wireless products, TI Norway AS, in a statement.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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