Silicon Labs sues Airoha Technology over patents

Silicon Laboratories said it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Taiwan-based IC maker Airoha Technology Corporation, in the U.S. Federal District Court in Austin, Texas.

The lawsuit alleges that Airoha has infringed two of the company’s patents relating to mixed-signal integrated circuits. These, Silicon Laboratories said, are specifically United States Patents No. 6,226,506 and No. 6,233,441 with, but not limited to, its FM receiver products.

“We invest heavily in R&D to build our differentiated technology and must vigorously pursue the defense of our intellectual property,” said Nestor Ho, general counsel for Silicon Laboratories. “We will seek a permanent injunction against the infringing products.”

Mixed-signal ICs are often used to convert analogue signals to digital signals so that digital devices can process them. For example, mixed-signal ICs are essential components for FM tuners in digital products such as media players, which have digital amplifiers. Any analogue signal (such as an FM radio transmission, a light wave or a sound) can be digitised using a very basic analogue-to-digital converter, and the smallest and most energy efficient of these would be in the form of mixed-signal ICs.

However mixed-signal ICs are more difficult to design and manufacture than analogue-only or digital-only integrated circuits.