ITC delays final SigmaTel, Actions patent decision

June 22, 2006 – The US International Trade Commission has delayed final determination of a patent infringement lawsuit between Chinese fabless company Actions Semiconductor Co. Ltd. and US firm SigmaTel Inc., until September, and modified a key claim under one of two patents for reconsideration by the administrative law judge (ALJ).

In early 2005, SigmaTel sued Actions Semiconductor in a US federal court over system-on-chip technology used with digital audio players, followed by a formal complaint with the ITC in March 2005.

In a statement, the ITC said it has reversed the ALJ’s construction of the claim phrase “produce the system clock control signal and power supply control signal based on a processing transfer characteristic of the computation engine,” instead finding that “both the system clock control signal and the power supply control signal are required to be produced during operation of the integrated circuit, such that the voltage and the frequency of the integrated circuit are adjusted based on a processing transfer characteristic, but that the processing transfer characteristic is not determined in any particular manner.”

The portion of the dispute remanded back to the ALJ concerns questions whether a piece of firmware should be included in the infringement complaint. For products not using that firmware, the ITC determined, the ITC agreed with the ALJ’s findings of infringement of the asserted claims of the SigmaTel ‘522 patent.

Actions said its products under review by the ITC constitute a nonmaterial portion of overall revenues, and <10% of its products sold worldwide are shipped to the US.


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