By Eric Schweibenz
On March 23, 2012, Microchip Technology Incorporated (“Microchip”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that the following entities (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain semiconductor integrated circuit devices and products containing the same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,225,088 (the ‘088 patent), 6,245,597 (the ‘597 patent), 6,159,765 (the ‘765 patent), 5,760,720 (the ‘720 patent), 6,559,783 (the ‘783 patent), and 6,847,904 (the ’904 patent):

  • Intersil Corp. of Milpitas, California

  • Zilker Labs, Inc. of Austin, Texas

  • Techwell, Inc. of San Jose, California

According to the complaint, the asserted patents “relate generally to integrated circuit devices and package designs, and methods of manufacturing such devices and packages.”  The ‘088 patent is directed to power supply systems including a “programmable power supply and a programmable brownout detector.”  The ‘597 patent is related to “reducing die cracking in integrated circuits by using an epoxy adhesive with a specified thickness to attach an integrated circuit die to a mounting structure.”  The ‘765 patent is directed to an integrated circuit package having two devices mounted therein that are “coupled to one another allowing for communication and control.”  The ‘720 patent describes an invention related to trimming electronic analog components and to “measuring parameters of analog components during testing and storing calibration constants.”  The ‘783 patent describes a method and device that “automatically converts a plurality of analog input channels using a single analog to digital converter.”  The ‘904 patent is directed to “a programmable gain amplifier controlled through a serial communications interface, fabricated on an integrated circuit with a multiplexer.”

The complaint alleges that the Proposed Respondents have “engaged in unlawful and unfair acts, including the sale for importation into the United States, and/or sale within the United States after importation of the Accused products that infringe one or more of the Asserted Claims of the Asserted Patents.”  The complaint provides a list of fifteen accused products identified by serial number that correspond with the six asserted patents.  As several of the accused products were purchased in the United States, Microchip contends that the Proposed Respondents manufacture and/or package the accused products outside the United States and then imports the products.

With respect to related litigation, the complaint describes that Microchip is concurrently filing a civil action in the United States District of Arizona alleging infringement of the same asserted patents by the same parties. 

Microchip asserts that it meets both the economic and technical prongs of the domestic industry requirement, arguing that “each of the Asserted Patents is important to Microchip’s success in the highly competitive industry of integrated circuits by providing Microchip with features that are competitive and desired by customers in that industry.”  The complaint also alleges that Microchip has made significant investments in the United States with respect to (i) personnel engaged in, among other things, engineering, testing, and manufacturing of Microchip’s integrated circuit and electronic component products, (ii) capital, operation, and maintenance of its United States manufacturing facilities (asserting approximately 80% of its 2011 products were made in the United States); and (iii) activities necessary to commercialize and support Microchip’s integrated circuit and electronic component product line.  Last, Microchip asserted that certain of its products practice at least one independent claim of each asserted patent.

Regarding potential remedy, the complaint requests the Commission to issue a permanent exclusion order and cease and desist order directed at Proposed Respondents and their allegedly infringing devices.