Fairchild Semiconductor respects the legitimate intellectual property interests of our competitors. We also believe in the ability to vigorously defend our own patents against infringement and to compete in markets where we have the right to do so.
Power Integrations Litigation Information
Fairchild has profound disagreements with Power Integrations over the validity and scope of several patents that are the subject of lawsuits which began in 2004 against Fairchild and System General.
Fairchild's commitment to our customers:
We support this business. Fairchild continues to innovate with new products and products that are pin compatible replacements to parts affected by the PI lawsuits. Fairchild believes in competition on the basis of Innovation, Quality and Service.
We stand behind our products. Our worldwide terms and conditions of sale include industry-standard indemnification for patent infringement. For products subject to injunctions, we have been forced to limit this indemnification.
Current Status of Lawsuits
2015 Lawsuit brought by Power Integrations against Fairchild in the U.S.
On October 21, 2015, Power Integrations filed a complaint for patent infringement against Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc., Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation and Fairchild (Taiwan) Corporation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit alleges certain products infringe two Power Integration's patents. PI previously sued Fairchild on both patents. The company is reviewing the allegations in the complaint and will defend itself vigorously.
2012 Lawsuit brought by Fairchild against Power Integrations in the U.S.
On May 1, 2012 Fairchild and System General filed new patent infringement claims against Power Integrations' LinkSwitchII power conversion products. PI counter-sued with five patents.
On June 5, 2015, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, U.S.A. found that Power Integrations infringed Fairchild’s U.S. Patent No. 7,259,972 by continuing to market and sell its LinkSwitch II family of products, even after a 2012 jury found those same power conversion chips violated the patent. The jury found that PI induced its customers to infringe Fairchild’s patent rights, and awarded Fairchild $2.4 million in damages. This damage figure reflects an approximately 1.5-cent per unit royalty on LinkSwitch II parts imported into the United States.
Of these five patents PI brought against Fairchild, only two made it to the jury. They found that Fairchild violated only one of the patents. The jury awarded PI damages of $100,000. Importantly, however, the PI patent Fairchild was found to infringe only affects two Fairchild products, both of which have been withdrawn from the U.S. market by Fairchild in connection with previous cases. Therefore, this verdict has no impact on the sale of Fairchild’s products going forward.
2009 Lawsuit: March 2014 Jury Verdict
On November 4, 2009, Power Integrations filed a lawsuit against Fairchild & System General in the United States District Court, Northern District of California. On March 4, 2014 the jury found that Fairchild infringed two PI patents. Fairchild disagrees with the jury verdict and will appeal the lawsuit.
On November 25, 2014, the judge granted Fairchild’s motion and threw out PI’s damage verdict against Fairchild as unsupportable as a matter of law.
On February 12, 2015, the judge agreed with Fairchild and denied PI’s motion for an injunction on the products found to infringe in this lawsuit. Some of these products were previously enjoined by the 2012 case and some had been self-enjoined by Fairchild, which will remain in place. See the July 3, 2014 letter which is linked below.
For additional information on the March 2014 verdict, see Letter to Customers Dated March 10, 2014 and Attachment A of the letter.
2008 Lawsuit: 2012 Jury Verdict: Power Integrations found to infringe Fairchild Semiconductor patent rights; Fairchild was found to infringe Power Integrations U.S. patents.
In May 2008, PI sued Fairchild and System General. Fairchild sued PI in October 2008 and the Court consolidated the cases.
On April 27, 2012, a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware found Power Integrations, Inc. infringes a Fairchild U.S. patent covering primary side regulation. Power Integrations products found to infringe include certain LinkSwitch-II and LinkSwitch-CV products. PI was found to infringe Fairchild-SG US Patent No. 7,259,972, "Primary-Side-Control Power Converter Having a Switching Controller Using Frequency Hopping and Voltage and Current Control Loops." The PI products that infringe Fairchild's patents include:
Fairchild will seek financial damages, which will be determined in a second phase of the lawsuit.
The same jury found that Fairchild infringed certain PI patents.
On June 30, 2014, the Court enjoined Fairchild from making, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing certain Fairchild products into the United States. For additional information, please see Letter to Customers Dated July 3, 2014. As stated in this letter, Fairchild will also be voluntarily withdrawing certain products found to infringe in the 2014 lawsuit, from the U.S. market, effective September 1, 2014. Fairchild warned about this possibility in 2013. See Letter to Customers Dated November 27, 2013.
The verdict concluded the first phase of trial in the litigation which began in 2008. Fairchild has appealed certain aspects of this verdict. Willfulness and damages in the case will be determined in a second phase, which has yet to be scheduled, and will occur after appeal.
2004 Lawsuits brought by Power Integrations against Fairchild & System General
Lawsuit Against Fairchild Semiconductor
Fairchild was found to infringe certain Power Integrations patents and final Judgment was entered against Fairchild January 26, 2011.
Fairchild appealed the damages verdict against it, and in March 2013, the United States Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia vacated almost the entire damages award of $12.2M and ruled that there was no basis upon which a reasonable jury could find Fairchild liable for induced infringement. The court also vacated the earlier ruling of willful patent infringement by Fairchild. The appeals court instructed the lower court to conduct further proceedings to determine damages based upon approximately $750,000 worth of direct sales and imports of affected products into the United States, leaving PI with less than $200K in damages for 11 years (and counting) of fighting. PI appealed to the United States Supreme Court which declined to hear the case leaving the lower Court’s ruling intact.
As a part of the lawsuit, on May 13, 2009, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Fairchild or its subsidiaries from making, using, selling or offering to sell in the United States, or importing into the United States, or inducing or contributing to the same by third parties, any of the products listed in the permanent injunction order. Even before that injunction went into effect, Fairchild had voluntarily withdrawn affected products from the U.S. market and has been offering replacement products since 2006. See the Letter Dated June 29, 2009 with attached injunction order.
Lawsuit and ITC Case Against System General
Power Integrations' separate lawsuit against System General, which also began in 2004. In 2006, while the lawsuit was pending and before the U.S. Patent Office rejected the patents, Power Integrations obtained an exclusion order from the U.S. International Trade Commission, based on two of the four patents involved in the lawsuit. (Power Integrations withdrew the other two patents during the ITC proceedings, but had not withdrawn them from the lawsuit when it was dismissed.) The existing ITC order prevents the following System General power supply controllers from being imported into the United States:
System General no longer offers the above parts for importation or sale in the U.S. and offers replacements parts which are not affected by the ITC order. The ITC order does not affect any Fairchild Semiconductor or System General parts other than those listed above. The 2004 lawsuit was dismissed and refilled against Fairchild and System General in 2009.