Micron, Mouser sued in Germany

Micron, Mouser sued in Germany

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

A US patent company has filed a suit in Germany against Micron and Mouser

Innovative Foundry Technologies (IFT), a US patent company, is suing Micro and Mouser in a court in Dusseldorf, Germany, for patent infringement.

The company was formed in 2017 and acquired patents from AMD. It has successfully sued TSMC and UMC and now SMIC in China.

It has acquired new patents, one of which it asserted in a new infringement lawsuit filed in Germany. The case in the Dusseldorf Patent Court alleges that Micron Technologies, Micron Semiconductor (Deutschland), and Mouser Electronics infringed a German Patent De 10 2008 030 854 B4, “MOS transistors having depressed drain and source regions and conforming metal silicide regions, and methods of fabricating the transistors.”

“IFT is extremely pleased to have resolved its patent dispute with SMIC.  Having now successfully resolved our campaigns against some of the biggest players in the semiconductor foundry space, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC), Unified Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), and SMIC, we can now turn our attention to the many other parties who continue to infringe our patents,” said Thomas Loureiro, IFT’s Executive Vice President of Licensing and Strategy at IFT.

“With the recent acquisition of new patents, one of which we’ve just asserted in Germany, we hope it is clear to these parties that IFT intends to continue to protect its intellectual property and take whatever steps are appropriate and necessary to achieve that end.” 

“The pace and scope of our success to date validates the strength of IFT’s patent portfolio and licensing strategy.  Further, IFT has an open-portfolio strategy and we will continue to add to our world class fabrication portfolio, so unlicensed parties should take note, and recognize that early licensing is the best and only way to avoid the risk and cost associated with continuing infringement of IFT’s patents.”

IFT owns over 125 US and foreign patents and patent applications acquired from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), with about half in the US and the other half split between Europe and Asia.   This portfolio covers several key aspects of semiconductor design and manufacture, and in 2018 IFT sued  Texas Instruments (TI), Volkswagen, and Ford in Dusseldorf based on their use of UMC-manufactured OMAP processors that infringed a patent.

A report in October 2020 by the University of Bordeaux examined how some non-practising entities, also known as patent assertion entities or ‘patent trolls’, game the European patent system for profit. Dormant patent-troll companies with opaque ownership and almost no assets are used to acquire European patents.

“The tactics used by patent trolls clearly demonstrate that the European patent system is not optimised for innovative companies, but instead is more geared towards financial companies that exploit the system for pure financial gain,” said the European Commission. In its Industrial Strategy, the Commission announced an Intellectual Property (IP) Action Plan to assess the need to upgrade Europe’s IP legal framework.;

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