US court bars Infineon from selling GaN-on-Si products

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The preliminary injunction stems from a request by MACOM, which claimed that Infineon's GaN-on-Si RF products use its exclusively licensed IP rights.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has ordered Infineon Technologies to stay away from designing, developing, making, marketing or selling Gallium Nitride on Silicon (GaN-on-Si) RF products.

The preliminary injunction stemmed from a request made by MACOM Technology Solutions Holdings, which claimed that Infineon's GaN-on-Si RF products use intellectual property rights previously owned by Nitronex and now exclusively licensed to MACOM in certain fields, including base stations.

The court also required Infineon to provide notice of the injunction—within 10 days—to all its relevant subsidiaries, employees and customers.

Infineon, however, pointed out that MACOM's hasn't won yet.

The dispute, according to Infineon, originated from "irreconcilable business philosophies." Infineon said while it generally welcomes competition and has entered into license agreements with many of its competitors, MACOM prefers exclusion.

Infineon said MACOM had been willfully infringing patents owned by Infineon Americas by operating outside the scope of a license agreement. Macom admitted to the infringement but rejected Infineon America’s offer to broaden the license agreement to cover the infringement, which resulted in Infineon Americas' decision to terminate MACOM's license in March 2016.

This, in turn, spurred Macom to file a complaint in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. No decision has been made on the merits, but the court dismissed claims in Macom's second attempt at a complaint in October 2016. The third version of the complaint resulted in the preliminary injunction, which Infineon said didn’t mean that MACOM has already won the case.

"To preserve the status quo until the court reaches a decision, the court issued a preliminary injunction in the meantime. The preliminary injunction serves to shield MACOM from irreparable harm should MACOM ultimately succeed on its theory, while Infineon can seek to recover damages from MACOM later if Infineon prevails. The preliminary injunction is not a threat to Infineon's business plans," Infineon said in a statement.

Infineon said believes that the third complaint is still flawed and will move to dismiss this week. Once the lawsuit eventually proceeds, Infineon expects a decision within one to two years.

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