Actions wins small victory vs. SigmaTel, bigger decisions loom

August 7, 2006 – The patent dispute between Chinese fabless company Actions Semiconductor Co. Ltd. and US firm SigmaTel Inc. continues, with a new ruling by the US International Trade Commission stating that a few of Actions’ products do not violate SigmaTel patents. The decision states that certain Actions’ chips, when programmed with a particular firmware version, do not infringe SigmaTel’s ‘522 patent — but the ruling still must be confirmed by the full ITC.

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. Several weeks ago, the ITC delayed final determination of a patent infringement lawsuit between Actions and SigmaTel until September, and modified a key claim under one of two patents for reconsideration by the administrative law judge (ALJ), concerning whether products not using a piece of firmware should be included in the infringement complaint.

“Even after today’s ruling, the ITC still believes all of the Actions products and firmware versions we previously accused of infringement still infringe one or more SigmaTel patents,” stated Ron Edgerton, chairman and CEO of SigmaTel, adding that he believes that previous ITC infringement findings still provide “a very firm basis from which to issue an exclusion order.”

Actions has indicated 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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