Analog Devices, a provider of MEMS and semiconductor technologies for signal-processing applications, announced this week that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) reportedly ruled "decisively in favor" of Analog Devices in its lawsuit against Knowles Electronics.
This recent ruling follows ITC's ruling on November 22nd when Administrative Law Judge Robert K. Rogers, Jr. found Knowles Electronics' MEMS microphone packaging patents were invalid, a ruling that Analog Devices says is consistent with the position taken by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where all of Knowles' asserted claims were rejected in separate reexaminations.
Now, with this latest ruling, Judge Rogers concluded that Knowles infringes valid claims from one of ADI's Wafer Anti-Stiction Application (WASA) patents. Specifically, he ruled that Knowles infringes claims 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 from ADI’s U.S. Pat. No. 7,364,942.
As a result, ADI expects the ITC to issue an exclusion order prohibiting Knowles and its U.S. distributors from importing or selling all infringing microphones in the United States. Additionally, ADI expects to recover damages on all past sales of Knowles’ microphones through its pending lawsuit against Knowles in Delaware.
"Analog Devices began investing in MEMS in 1989 and has developed an extensive and innovative MEMS IP portfolio," commented Mark Martin, vice president, MEMS and Sensor Technology Group, Analog Devices. "We have leveraged this investment to create the highest performance MEMS microphones available. We are very pleased that Judge Rogers ruled in our favor confirming the strength of our MEMS IP portfolio."
Knowles, on the other hand, said that this ITC decision would not impact its ability to import its products into the United States. According to the company, the use of anti-stiction coatings is common in the industry and Knowles uses various anti-stiction coatings and methods in the manufacture of its MEMS microphone packages.
"Knowles manufactures its microphone packages, along with other products, through a variety of methods. While we are disappointed with the Judge's ruling and will seek further review from the ITC Commission, we remain unaffected in our ability to deliver our products to our customers, as the ruling applies to only one of those manufacturing methods," stated Jeff Niew, President of Knowles Electronics.
Peter Loeppert, Chief Technical Officer of Knowles Acoustics, further stated, "As we seek to protect our rights via the legal process Knowles will continue to bring award-winning products to the market as it has for years. Further, this ruling will have no impact whatsoever on the ability of our customers to continue to use our products without interruption."
Founded 65 years ago in Itasca, Illinois, Knowles is the leading designer and manufacturer of MEMS surface mount microphones and other advanced acoustic components to major cell phone brands and consumer electronic devices.