Fairchild faces $315 million charge for patent infringement

March 05, 2014 // By Peter Clarke
Fairchild Semiconductor (San Jose, Calif.) must pay $105 million in damages, a possibly three times that, having been found guilty of infringing two patents on power supply ICs held by Power Integrations Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) in a North California district court.

Power Integrations said that based on the finding that Fairchild's infringement was wilful the court could triple the level of damages specified by the jury. The jury also denied all counterclaims by Fairchild alleging patent infringement by Power Integrations.

Power Integrations intends to seek a permanent injunction against Fairchild selling more than 140 chips that Power Integrations claims are implicated in the decision.

The size of the damages claim relates to the long-running nature of the dispute which dates back to 2004, although the current case was brought in 2009 after two patents were validated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The jury found that Power Integrations does not infringe the Fairchild patent but that several power supplies containing chips made by System General Corp., a subsidiary of Fairchild, infringed U.S. Patent Number 6,212,079 and 6,538,908. 

The latest decision follows three previous findings of infringement against Fairchild and its System General (SG) subsidiary in cases brought by Power Integrations.

"Today’s decision marks the fourth time Fairchild and its SG subsidiary have been found to infringe our patents. We hope this latest finding and the accompanying damage award will cause Fairchild to finally re-examine their business practices and begin respecting the intellectual property that we have worked so hard to develop over the past 25 years," said Balu Balakrishnan, president and CEO of Power Integrations, in a statement.

Fairchild was approached for comment but had not responded by the time this article was posted.

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